Project #13568

School of Fun for Children in Fukushima

by Academy Camp
Apr 24, 2013

Academy Camp in Fukushima Vol.1 (Apr. 20-21, 2013)

A girl is cutting out a character for an apparatus
A girl is cutting out a character for an apparatus

Please find a Japanese version of this report here.

We have just held our first 2-day camp in Fukushima that we hope to hold at least bimonthly. We went to Inawashiro, a town in the middle-west of Fukushima prefecture, where the radiation level is much lower than the middle and east parts of the prefecture. We stayed during April 20 to 21, 2013, in National Bandai Youth Interchange House with 46 elementary and junior-high school students living in Fukushima. As always, we were blessed with a plenty of smiles of the children. We were surprised by an unusual heavy snow in April, but all went well.

Unlike our summer and winter camps which would usually last 5 to 6 days and have enough time slots for a variety of experiences, this time we focused on a single theme: making Rube Goldberg machines, or apparatuses that perform a very simple task in a very complex fashion, better known to Japanese children as "Pythagora apparatus" featured in a popular educational TV program. We invited a former assistant and a graduate of Tama Art University, who have experienced making such apparatuses in a class as a lecturer and a student, respectively, to help us. We started with looking at things we see daily from a different angle, focusing on their shapes rather than intended functions, so that they can be used in the design of apparatuses that work with chain reactions.

In the end, we had 11 of such apparatuses, made by 9 teams of children and 2 teams of adults, but of course, none of them worked perfectly at the final demonstrations (following the law of universe ;-)). On closing, it was mentioned that only those who ever tried to make a Pythagora apparatus can experience the failure of the apparatus, so they should be proud of themselves. It was another learning experience for all.


Wednesday, April 24, 2013 EDT (starts 13:00 in Japan) is the final bonus day for the April 2013 Global Open Challenge at GlobalGiving, on which donations of $25 or more will be matched at 15% (there is a maximum of $1,000 per donor). There is $3,000 in matching funds, and once that is used, no more donations will be matched. If we have the most unique donors on Bonus Day, we will earn an additional $1,000. This is a great chance for people to support children in Fukushima, if they have been concerned, but did not know what to do. So please share this opportunity with your family, friends and known communities. We would really appreciate it.

Their apparatus uses a whiteboard as a wall
Their apparatus uses a whiteboard as a wall
A boy is working together with a volunteer student
A boy is working together with a volunteer student
The youngest participant this time
The youngest participant this time
A girls-only team made an artistic apparatus
A girls-only team made an artistic apparatus
A demo of an apparatus in front of everyone
A demo of an apparatus in front of everyone



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Organization Information

Academy Camp

Location: Fujisawa, Kanagawa - Japan
Website: http:/​/​
Project Leader:
Kenji Saito
Fujisawa, Kanagawa Japan

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