2023 Activity Report vol.7:Sapporo Kaisei Secondary School

Activity Report of Open Application Program 2023 vol.7 (Course A)

Science and Technology Exchange with High−School Students from Thailand, Vietnam and Zambia

Report from Sapporo Kaisei Secondary School

<Overview and Characteristics>

Due to the COVID−19 pandemic, this year the exchange was held for the first time in four years. We invited 13 individuals in total, comprising three students and three teachers from Thailand's Princess Chulabhorn Science High School Phitsanulok (of whom, two of the teachers covered their own costs), three students and one teacher from Vietnam's Trần Đại Nghĩa High School For The Gifted (of whom, one student covered their own costs), and two students and one teacher from Zambia's David Kaunda National STEM Secondary School. In the program, which covered the seven−day period from July 20 to 27, 2023, high−school students from four countries, including our school's students, considered how Japan's natural environment, culture and arts connect with science and technology to enrich our lifestyles. This created an opportunity to cultivate outstanding individuals in Africa and Asia who will contribute to Japanese society in the future, and Japanese scientists who will flourish worldwide.

Activity Report Photo 1
At Hokkaido University (origami engineering lecture and practice)

A characteristic of this year's exchange was that two new major things were trialed. The first was that we invited participation from the Republic of Zambia in Africa. Prior to the COVID−19 pandemic the Sakura Science Exchange Program's main coverage had been countries in Asia, but this year we focused on the fact that the program covers the Africa region, and became the first high school in the country to invite participation from there. The benefits of this were evident throughout the exchange — deep discussions took place in the question times and discussions that followed lectures, and they were interspersed with examples from Zambia.

The second was that learning was implemented online, both prior to and following the event. In the prior learning, in addition to self−introductions and a briefing on the training, Zoom breakout rooms were used to create opportunities for the participants to talk one−on−one to our school's buddy students. This created an environment in which the participants were already comfortable with one another when the Japan training commenced. Additionally, as follow−up learning it was decided to hold international joint research on "water" about once every two months online, with the aim of announcing the results at our school's SSH results debriefing session, which will be held in March 2024. We concluded that as a result of doing so, the participants will continue to have an interest in Japan even after the completion of the Japan training, which was limited to a seven−day period, and that Japan will become a familiar presence to the students from Africa and Asia.

<Day One>

On the morning of the first day, the teacher assigned to speak in the lecture was unable to come to school, and so the program had to be hurriedly altered. In addition, the flight carrying the invitees from Vietnam was delayed and they arrived four hours later than scheduled, meaning they were unable to take part in the afternoon program. Our school's buddy students and 320 of its fifth− and sixth−year students gathered for the opening ceremony. Following self−introductions by the invitees, a screening of a video introducing the school and a greeting from the school's student representative, a question time was set up so that participants could get to know each other better.

Activity Report Photo 2
Opening ceremony

<Day Two>

We visited Hokkaido University. In a lecture on cell origami that applies origami techniques and on space development, the students learned that the traditional Japanese culture of origami is being used as a scientific technique, which provided a good opportunity for them to develop an interest in Japan's science and technology. We also received an explanation on a program for students from overseas that is run by Hokkaido University. The fact that the university provides a study program for international students, regardless of their Japanese language ability, attracted the invitees' interest.

International students currently studying at Hokkaido University were invited to lunch, which created an opportunity for invitees to get advice on how to go about studying in Japan and on life in Japan. In the afternoon we visited the Institute of Low Temperature Science, Hokkaido University, and listened to a talk on the significance and outcomes of polar research from Professor Jun Aoki. Snow does not fall in any of the invitees' countries, so they had no mental picture of research in the polar regions. Consequently, the question time was animated, and even Professor Aoki appeared surprised. At the end of the visit, we entered a −50℃ laboratory and got a taste of what it feels like to visit a polar region.

Activity Report Photo 3
The students continue to ask questions enthusiastically even after the lecture at the Institute of Low Temperature Science

<Day Three>

We held a science exchange at the school. To begin with an oral presentation was held regarding the results of international joint research being carried out by the invitees from Thailand and sixth−year students from our school. Following that, project research being carried out in each country was presented in a poster format. An explanation was then given regarding the outline of the international joint research that will take place going forward, and it was confirmed that the participants will acquire data on each country's "water" in their own countries, and compile their research results by March 2024 while holding discussions online. For students who had only used optical microscopes before, the practice with electron microscopes was something very novel, and they engaged in it earnestly.

There were also good opportunities for the invitees to come into contact with Japanese culture, including through making thin wheat noodles at lunch, and a tea ceremony experience put on by students from the tea ceremony club. A contest to test the parachutes that had been assigned to the students as advance homework was held in the afternoon. The country that came up with the parachute that fell the "slowest" and hit the target the "most accurately," which were the conditions assigned in the homework, was to be declared the winner of the contest. The outcome was that the Thai team won.

Activity Report Photo 4
Explaining the experiment tools to be used in the joint research that will be carried out when the invitees return home
Activity Report Photo 5
The tea ceremony experience
Activity Report Photo 6
The parachute contest

<Day Four>

The invitees spent the whole day with their host families, and looked around Sapporo City and its environs. It was an unforgettable day, with activities that included a visit to an aquarium, of which there are none in Zambia, enjoying fireworks, and trying on light cotton kimono.

In addition, the buddy students who accepted homestays got enjoyment out of coming to terms with changes and differences. For example, even those students who lacked sufficient linguistic ability could be seen making an effort to try to communicate, thus providing a good opportunity in terms of cultivating the qualities needed to flourish in the world through science and technology in the future.

<Day Five>

On the fifth day we held Usu training. This training was held accompanying the school's SSH geology outdoor training, and the students learned about natural phenomena and natural disasters by looking around the actual crater and around buildings that were damaged during eruptions. After dinner, all the participants made model volcanoes and looked back on the exchange. They deepened their understanding by sorting through the things they had learnt in the training and swapping ideas.

Activity Report Photo 7
Making a model volcano

<Day Six>

In the morning we visited Japan CCS Co., Ltd. in Tomakomai City. At a facility that is researching the latest technology for burying carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in the ground, we listened to a talk on the results, practicalities and outlook for the current research, and the participants appeared surprised at the high level of Japan's technological capabilities. Then in the afternoon we travelled to Tokyo to look around teamLab Planets Tokyo. This was an opportunity to once again experience firsthand that fusing the arts with science and technology generates new value and enriches people's lives.

Activity Report Photo 8
At teamLab Planets Tokyo

<Day Seven>

We visited the National Museum of Nature and Science, Tokyo, and looked around various natural science exhibits. The scale of the facility means it is not possible to take in all the exhibits in half a day, and some participants mentioned that there was not enough time and that they wanted to see more.

Via this Sakura Science Program, students from all the school's grades, from our first−year students through to sixth−year students, together with exceptional high−school students from Thailand, Vietnam and Zambia, were able to carry out practical and productive research through learning about Japan's natural environment, culture and arts, and the science that is connected to them, through visits to world−class research facilities, and through homestays, with Hokkaido as a base. As a result, it was possible to cultivate outstanding individuals in Africa and Asia who will contribute to Japanese society in the future, and Japanese scientists who will flourish worldwide. Those outcomes can also be expected to become visible in the international joint research that will be carried out from here forward.

Finally, this program provided an extremely meaningful seven days to the teachers who were involved with it also, not just the participating students, and we hope to continue to apply from next year and beyond also, while making improvements.