Education  Japan Project #28361

Empowering Thousands of Fukushima's Children

by Asubito Fukushima, General Incorporated Association
Creating Biogas from Field "Waste"
Creating Biogas from Field "Waste"

This autumn we continued our efforts to nurture the youth of Fukushima by creating opportunities for a variety of experiences for young people from elementary school to university age. Teams have now started planning the projects that arose from the “Asubito Fukushima Community,” an intergenerational entrepreneurs’ camp held during the summer. Things are now beginning to take shape.

(1) Workshops on theme of bioenergy

Our hands-on learning workshops were held twice for elementary and middle school kids on the theme of “Let’s create energy from the pumpkin field,” with collaboration from Associate Professor Chika Tada of the Faculty of Agriculture at Tohoku University. Participants are stimulated to think about the potential for creating renewable energy through the experience of creating biogas from field “waste,” including residue from squash crops harvested from the “solar sharing” field (farmland being used for both growing crops and photovoltaic power production). With support from local high school volunteers, the kids learn through the whole process of producing methane gas by the fermentation of organic waste, bringing water to a boil with energy from the gas, and confirming what they learned through countless questions, to the point where they can articulate their knowledge by reporting in an article for the local newspaper

  

(2) Promoting discovery-based learning

Many children are having the opportunity to experience renewable energy through discovery-based learning at the Minamisoma Solar Agripark, using the time allocated for integrated learning in the curriculum at primary and middle schools in Minamisoma City. Meanwhile, we received a steady stream of visits this autumn from primary schools in other cities in Fukushima Prefecture, including Soma and Date. We witness the kids’ cumulative development in little steps as they reflect upon their experiences and report about what they observed and thought, all on the theme of renewable energy.

 

(3) Progress with project planning from entrepreneurs’ camp

Three projects are starting to take shape since having been selected by the “Asubito Fukushima Community,” an intergenerational entrepreneurs’ camp in August that brought together participants ranging from high school to working age. One of them is called “Creating fun with manhole cover art depicting the dragon legend of Odaka Ward.” After two local tours since August, the team has settled on the goal of turning Fukushima Prefecture into the top destination for tourist satisfaction in Japan. They are now working with key advisors to consider the potential to do something with ideas like history of the dragon legend and farm experience. They hope to incorporate art to create new touristic resources that will be interesting to others, even though the subject may feel so familiar that local people tend to take it for granted. Trials are being conducted now with the aim of implementation in May 2018.

Producing Methane Gas
Producing Methane Gas
Workshops on Theme of Bioenegy : Presentation
Workshops on Theme of Bioenegy : Presentation
Experiencing Renewable Energy
Experiencing Renewable Energy
Experience Learning : Solar Panels
Experience Learning : Solar Panels

Links:

Summer School
Summer School

This summer we continued our efforts to nurture the youth of Fukushima by creating venues for a variety of experiences, for young people from elementary school to university age. Kids who first learned at our Minamisoma Solar Agripark at the elementary school age are now high-school students, and we can now see them volunteering in operations, so this summer we were able to witness the recirculation of human resources in the region.

(1) Summer school on the theme of renewable energy

On July 22, we offered various solar experiences for 72 elementary school children with their parents. First, using our own originally-designed movable solar panels, the kids observed changes in the amount of power generated when they altered the vertical and horizontal orientation of the panels. Next, they were able to use experimentation to solve questions and doubts when they conducted experiments with the three primary colors using LCD displays and were surprised to see color combinations that differed from their expectations. Finally, with new understanding of the characteristics of light, they made objects using light-refracting "polarizer" materials. Then, using the variations in interesting colors coming through the polarizers, they made creations such as kaleidoscopes and stained glass. This all deepened their understanding of solar light, using objects available around them and with high school students playing supporting roles.

 On August 20, about 30 elementary school kids and parents got together to assemble a street light to shine in a park, starting with individual solar panel components. Using soldering irons to make series connections of photovoltaic cells and then laminating them, they constructed a complete solar panel. Finally, they installed the completed solar panel for lighting in Sekiba Park beside Odaka Elementary School. The actual soldering work and light wiring was done by students from the electricity department of Odaka Industrial Technology and Commerce High School, who also carefully monitored the work by the elementary school kids.

(2) Intergenerational Entrepreneurs' Camp for high school students to working adults

On August 5 and 6, we organized what we called the "Asubito Fukushima Community," an entrepreneurs' training camp. It was held on one night and two days, with eight teams consisting of Fukushima high school and university students who are trying to create new value and revitalize Fukushima, together with working adults who support Fukushima, with the aim of actually launching social enterprise projects. 

They toured local places including Namie, a town where former residents are still not returning even after the lifting of evacuation orders that resulted from the nuclear accident, and Minamisoma's Odaka Ward, where post-disaster recovery is gradually progressing. The first day was dedicated to getting a sense of current conditions in the disaster-affected areas by interviewing and discussing the situation with key persons living there. On the second day, participants thought extensively about what they would do individually, and later each of the eight teams made a presentation of their project plans.

Summer School: Site-visit with parenents
Summer School: Site-visit with parenents
Summer School with Odaka High School Students
Summer School with Odaka High School Students
Summer School
Summer School
Asubito Fukushima Community:Discussion
Asubito Fukushima Community:Discussion
Asubito Fukushima Community:Presentation
Asubito Fukushima Community:Presentation
 

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Organization Information

Asubito Fukushima, General Incorporated Association

Location: Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture - Japan
Website: http:/​/​asubito.or.jp/​
Project Leader:
Rina Shiine
Minamisoma, Fukushima Prefecture, Japan

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