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Applying science and engineering knowledge in science experiment classes and science-related events for mostly elementary school students

The chibi lab. science communication circle hosts science experiment classes and science-related events which bring science experts and members of the public together. These classes and events are held in venues both big and small, including the National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation, elementary schools, local community centers and libraries, commercial facilities and elsewhere. As more and more school boards, NPOs, NGOs, companies and others learn about these events through word of mouth, our website, etc., they request classes and events and the number of activity venues grows. Although the science crafts, chemistry experiments, biology experiments, etc., are designed to match the needs of the requester and event characteristics, the content is all made up of original ideas thought up by TUS students, and there is almost nothing which stumps them. However, because the audience is elementary school students, they try to come up with content which allows the children to ask questions like “Why?” and “How can we make it work better?” without having to give the children overly complicated explanations. During science craft sessions, children make things, like a magnifying glass from a plastic bottle or a cold pack from potato starch, using tools and materials that they can find around their homes.

Seeing children happily doing science and the joy of fielding their sharp questions makes it hard to believe “science phobia” is even real

When working with children during these various activities, the moment when they exclaim “Wow!” “Why?” “That was great!” is truly wonderful. I frequently receive words of thanks from parents and guardians via SNS, and they ask if they can come with their children to the next event listed on the website. It makes doing these activities feel extremely rewarding. I know there are children who hear “science” and think it would be too hard for them. I even hear the term “science phobia” being used. But I keep on going with the hope that I can boost children’s interest in science, even if only a little, and convey to them just how fun science can actually be. Seeing the children at these events, there is no sense of anything like science phobia. I believe the joy of science is being communicated. Children have rich imaginations and can come up with all sorts of questions, and it is exciting when they ask something unexpected. I want to continue putting the knowledge I gain from my classes and the instruction methods I learn in my teacher-training curriculum to use in developing a range of activities that will promote science and its joys to an ever wider audience.

chibi lab. Science Communication Circle Faculty of Science Division I Department of Chemistry Toshihiro IJICHI

■ Main courses and research area

Plans science experiment classes aimed primarily at elementary school students, as well as holds events at science museums and other venues, in order to convey the joys of science to children and, thereby, facilitate activity-based science communication which brings together science and society, science experts with non-experts

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