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iCeMS Caravan visits high school in Okinawa

On February 16, iCeMS researchers visited Kyuyo High School in Okinawa, Japan's southernmost prefecture consisting of small islands. The project is called “iCeMS Caravan”, where iCeMS researchers deliver their original active-learning program to high schools.

In this 8th visit of the Caravan, four iCeMS scientists Drs Jun Suzuki (biochemist), Daniel Packwood (mathematician), Shuhei Furukawa (chemist), and Yousuke Katsuda (chemical biologist) gave lectures under the theme of DNA from the perspective of each area of specialization. Working in groups of four to five, students organized the information they had just learned through the lectures, they then brainstormed their own original ideas. At the end of the day each group gave a presentation in front of all other participants, using the format of scientific paper, and tried to convince how new and interesting their ideas are. With fun talks by the scientists and enthusiasm of the students and other participants, the event became so vibrant.

In this caravan 19 eleventh grade students participated at the main room. The event was transmitted live to a neighboring room where Dr Takayuki Homma acted as the facilitator, and in this room other participants including some of ninth and tenth graders of the school, students’ family, and teachers from other high schools experienced the same process as the students in the main room. The total number of the participants was more than 120.

Students commented on the event, saying: “It was so much fun with the iCeMS scientists’ jaunty talks.” “We were able to feel closer to people involved in science, and also learned the importance of thinking outside the box.” “I’m now more motivated to study because I learned the importance through the activities.” Mr. Motoki Nakamura, a science teacher of the school said, “People living here don’t have many chances to directly communicate with scientists. I hope that this will become a trigger to increase chances of learning for students in Okinawa.”

iCeMS Caravan (In Japanese)
Okinawa Prefectural Kyuyo High School (In Japanese)

  • High school students and an iCeMS scientist playing the icebreaker game together
  • Students listening to the lecture

  • Students organizing information using sticky notes
  • In the parallel room
  • Students giving a presentation in front of the audience

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