Monday, 5. September 2022 - 19:04

OIST and Onna Village hold annual summer event Children's School of Science 2022

The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) and Onna Village co-hosted the annual event, "ONNA/OIST Children's School of Science" from August 15, 2022 to August 19, 2022. Despite the original plan of holding in-person classes for the first time since 2019, the program had to be changed to be held online shortly before the event due to the surge of COVID-19 cases in Okinawa. For the first time in 12 years, this year’s program included an "open class," inviting elementary school students living outside of Onna Village in Okinawa. Approximately 200 students from 1st to 9th grade participated throughout the event. 

The following six classes were held this year:  

  • Grade 1 and 2: “Life in Water" 
  • Grade 1 to 3: "Creatures of the Dark; The Life of Termites" 
  • Grade 3 and 4: "Mystery of Slime – Polymers for Our Lives" 
  • Grade 5 to 6: "How does Evolution Work?" 
  • Junior High School Students: "Let's Make a Brain" 
  • Open Class: "The World Around Us" 

An OIST researcher, Manon Mercader, gave a lecture in the class “Life in Water" for the 1st and 2nd grade students.

In the class of "Creatures of the Dark; The Life of Termites," the 1st to 3rd graders learned about the body structures and ecology of termites. Kotaro Shimabukuro, a 2nd grader at Yamada Elementary School in Onna Village, who participated in the class, described his experience in the class: "At first I did not like termites, but after listening to Mr. Mori, I realized that they are good creatures that break down wood." 

OIST's Research Unit Technician, Kazuo Mori, taught the class of “Creatures of the Dark; The Life of Termites” for the 1st to 3rd graders. 

In the open class titled, "The World around Us," 3rd and 4th graders living outside Onna Village in Okinawa learned the importance of exploring the wonders around them. The children designed unique ants of their own, expressing their imagination with the shapes and descriptions. The ant designs were full of creativity, with some of them being able to stick to walls by having suction cups on their legs, or able to land on their feet even when falling from a high place, like cats. 

The open class “The World around Us” was attended by 50 children outside Onna Village in Okinawa.

In the class for the 5th and 6th graders, the students studied the evolution of life. An OIST student, Darshini Ravishankar, engaged the students in various activities to help them understand the evolution. Students asked many questions, showing how interested they were in evolution.  

The class of "How does Evolution Work?" was targeted for 5th and 6th graders. OIST student, Darshini Ravishankar, (on the right), gave a lecture to the class. 

This year's week-long Children's School of Science was another success. All of the classes inspired the curiosity of the students, who actively asked questions. We hope that this program will open the door to science for children and that it can be held in person next year. 

*This article was written by three interns from the University of the Ryukyus, Airi Kina, Faezeh Zare, and Yui Nakazato, as part of the 2022 OIST Internship Program. 

The three authors of this article, (left to right) Airi Kina, Faezeh Zare, and Yui Nakazato, who assisted with the operation of Children’s School of Science and interpretation for the classes, in addition to writing this article as interns in the Community Relations Section of OIST’s Communication and Public Relations Division.

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