Minoru OZEKI,* Kyoko KOHNO, Ikuko TAKAO, Arika OTANI, Etsuko HIRAYAMA, Shigeo TAKESHIMA, Tooru KIMURA, Toru WAKATSUKI, Tatsuya KITADE
Article first published online: July 29, 2015
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A science class for elementary school children entitled: “Amazing Summer Experience of 2014 in Yamashina ward” was held for the purpose of enhancing interest in science and preventing children from shying away from science. A total of 156 participants: elementary school students (n = 113) and their parents (n = 43) attended, the following two experiments (Exp) were conducted: Exp-1) preparation of colorful artificial salmon roe by the reaction of sodium alginate with calcium; and Exp-2) demonstrating a resin-powder that absorbed much water with its high water-absorption property. During the classes, all students wore safety glasses and white lab coats for their safety, and performed experiments in a laboratory in our university. Wearing safety glasses and a white lab coat was an effective way to keep students focused on the experiments. Interestingly, there were critical questions about the experiments from the students. The nature and content of the questions indicated a general scientific understanding and a high level of interest in the experiments. Almost all students (97%) responded affirmatively that they “understood well” or “could understand more or less” on a questionnaire administered after the experiments. Moreover, the questionnaire results showed that their interest in science was enhanced by the class, and 94% of students responded positively to questions asking whether they had more interest in science after the event.
Note: This study was awarded the 2014 Kyoto Citizens’ Charter for Nurturing Children for the promotion of “Practical Application Promotion Award” of science teaching.