Science for Project Work/サイエンスレッスン紹介

Afterschool 2021.04.22

Here is an introduction to lessons at CGK Afterschool.

CGK's eight-week-long project works will be based on the main “Driving Question”.
Here are the Driving Questions for this "Sience" lesson.

How can we keep our communities safe in the face of natural hazards?

The lesson theme was "disaster."

We followed this theme and question with fun lessons each week that drew the student's interest.
Here are the comments of Mr. Dan, the teacher who was in charge of the lessons.

Students brainstormed as many natural hazards as they knew and discussed using a brainstorm. Koushin raised a good question in `what is the difference between a natural hazard and a natural disaster?` which we discussed as a class. We then proceeded to watch a few short video clips and look at a power point presentation focusing on flooding and ways we can keep the community safe and prevent damage. Students were encouraged to give their opinions on various flood defenses from the small and local such as sandbags to very large-scale infrastructure projects such as dams and the large flood defense drainage system under Tokyo that drains potential flood water into the Edo river. Students were then informed that next week we will be conducting an experiment using the environment they made previously where we will simulate a flood. Students used a work sheet to come up with ways to combat the flood ranging from building dams, to clay barriers that simulate flood walls or sandbags. After presenting their ideas students will go away considering what strategy they will use together next week in the limited time they have to prevent the flood. They must work together and find a common path.
Week 2
This week we talked about the flooding experiment in circle time and brainstormed a little about thoughts they had regarding what they were going to do. For learning centers there were optional centers where students could make lego buildings that they could place on the environment so they could think of ways to protect them during the flood experiment. Another center relating to the experiment was a craft center where students could make flowers, bushes, and trees. The point of this center was to reinforce the idea that vegetation, or the lack of it, has a strong effect of flooding and flood prevention. We had talked about the idea of surface run off the previous week and how concrete, drains, and a lack of vegetation all result in rain water not only not being absorbed and stored in ground water but run off water reaches rivers far quicker than in a natural system resulting in flash flooding. If the students made vegetation and placed it on the environment I would pour less water onto the environment during the experiment as a way to simulate the capture of rain water into the natural system.
Before the experiment we refreshed our minds on various types of flood defenses and then the students were informed that in 25 minutes it would lightly rain, in 35 minutes there would be a rainstorm, and in minutes there would be a heavy rainstorm. This gave the students time to refine their flood defenses each time learning from the previous rainstorm. Students were informed they could use any materials they wanted and had to work together to create flood defenses.
Students heavily focused on creating as series of clay dams, and erected barriers of various materials. Students noticeably tried to recreate the Tokyo underground flood defense system that flows storm water into the Edo river by cutting a whole in the cardboard ramp the water would run down, taping a funnel to the underside of the table, and placing a bucket under it. Towards the end students tried to recreate sandbags using bubble wrap. Overall, the students had fun and came up with some interesting ideas. One area that they could have focused more on was the downstream flat portion of the carboard ramp which was the weak point for flooding. Students could have focused their barriers at this area but repeatedly became sidetracked with creating clay dams. However, students worked well as a team and communicated well throughout the experiment and were very helpful towards a student who had joined us for a demo lesson.

Week 3
This week we watched a series of videos, brainstormed, and talked about a power point presentation about the various layers of the Earth. Students were very interested in learning about the Earth`s core, tectonic plates, and continental drift. Learning that the Earth used to have only one big land mass in Pangea and that in the future the world map would look very different seemed to really interest them. We took some extra time to explore the idea of pressure as some boys were convinced that the inner core could not possibly be solid as it is so hot. After we talked about the vast pressure of the inner core they accepted that it is solid. This also lead to an interest in the Earth`s magnetosphere as I mentioned that the liquid outer core moving around the solid inner core is what creates the protective magnetosphere. We will look into this more in depth if time allows. We then made a paper mache model of the Earth by mixing flour and warm water together as a class and using newspaper pasted over a balloon and left to harden. It was messy but a lot of fun.

Week 4
This week we reviewed what we learned the previous week and moved on to talking about how the layers of the Earth and tectonic plates are responsible for earthquakes. We studied the three main types of tectonic boundaries; convergent, divergent, and transform boundaries. Students were not expected to remember these names but rather the three types of movement and what they are responsible for. We played around with a small game that reinforced what each type does. Once we had studied this we painted our paper mache Earth`s from the previous week. Students were encouraged to be creative with their planets as so long as the core was pained accurately, they could come up with their own planet.
Week 5-6
During learning centers this week we had a practice emergency evacuation for an earthquake. The students did very well. After the evacuation I talked to them about my old math teacher who told my class to ignore a fire drill as it was only a drill but it turned out to be an actual fire. I was trying to get across to them the importance of always acting like it is not a drill. We then looked through the emergency bag looking at all the items and having the students discuss why they are important and what else we could add to the bag. This week was the start of the third mini project looking at volcanoes this time. We looked at videos, a power point presentation, and brainstormed. This built nicely on from the pervious weeks leaning about the make up of the Earth. Students were very interested in the videos of volcanic eruptions and asked many time if the videos were real. They were also very interested to learn that when larva cools it turns into rock creating new land. We looked at a few videos about new islands created in the sea of Japan recently die to volcanic activity. We then discussed whether volcanoes are good or bad. We then worked as one team to create a coke volcano island using a glue gun to attach cardboard strips to the volcano and the using paper mache to create the cone of the volcano. For presentation students presented the planets they had previous made and talked about things such as how long is one day, how long is one year, what`s the climate like, hat lives there etc. Students then asked question about the planets. Finally, we hung all the planets up in the classroom together to create a mini solar system.
Week 7
During learning centers students started to individually practice for presentation. For project we reviewed what we learned about volcanoes and took a tectonic plate quiz before painting our class volcano.
Week 8
We reviewed what we had learned over the last seven weeks, practiced for presentation, and put the finishing touches to our class volcano. Instead of cola we used a chemical mix we could use red food colouring on instead.

In their presentations, they were able to properly present what they had learned in the lessons about floods, earthquakes, and volcanoes.
It was very cool to see the students presenting what they had created in their own words!

Author Profile

Saeda Sueki-Au-Yeung  -  School Director  (Japan)JAPAN

School Director of CGK International School.
Graduated from a 4-year university in America, joined women's soccer team (National Champion).
After working in childcare and management at CGK Preschool and CGK Afterschool, she became the director of the entire CGK International School.

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