Forty-eight junior high and high school students from across Asia got together in Yokosuka, Kanagawa Prefecture, to attend a one-week science summer school earlier this month.
The second annual gathering, dubbed the International School of Science Summer School 2016, is a weeklong program in which students learn science together in English at Yokosuka Research Park, a special zone the city established to attract technology research and development centers.
The organizer, the International School of Science Founding Project, dubbed “ISSJ,” is aiming to establish an international science school by 2020.
“Science is borderless and it is essential for scientists to be able to venture out into the world,” its website says. “Scientists must think about how they should form relationships with others on an international level. Thus, our school’s goal is to raise young and promising scientists to have the eyes, the brains and the hearts to be ready for the world.”
The school, however, does not only focus on science. It focuses on teaching students to “be innovators who use scientific research to involve other people to make big changes,” representative Ryuichi Nomura said. In his mind, an innovator is a scientist who can persuade, make good presentations, understand cultural differences in people and involve many people.
The International School of Science Summer School 2016 was held from Aug. 3 to 9. The 48 students — 17 Japanese, 10 Vietnamese, 11 Filipino, three Indonesians, two South Koreans, two Mongolians, two Chinese and an American, ranging in age from 13 to 17 — experienced very intensive curricula in various classes, including the Road to Data Scientist, the Sexiest Job of 21st Century, Why Do We Know There Are Black Holes? Introduction to Einstein’s Relativity and Rocket Experiment — One Day Field Work. Other classes that may not sound so scientific — but are important to science — included How to Make a Team, How to Work in a Team, Learn the Critical Basics of PowerPoint and Win That Investment! and Why Do Scientists Need to Think About Ethics? They all stayed together at a hotel inside YRP, and worked in the evenings on presentations they had to deliver on the final day.
The students were divided into 12 teams and each team delivered a presentation. The themes of the presentations included, “Lack of Electricity in the Philippines,” “Endangered Animals,” “We’re Going to Mars” and “Energy and its Demand: Use of Rice Husks by 2050.”
Additionally, an awards ceremony was held on the final day of the school. One of the awards, the Head of Teacher Award, went to team Daisuke Daisuki, whose members were Ngo The Kien, 15, from Vietnam, Daniel Leshawn Hung Cruz, 16, from the Philippines, Le Quynh Huong, 15, from Vietnam, and Rena Mototani, 15, from Japan. They won the award for exhibiting outstanding performance throughout the summer school and for having a positive influence on other students.
The second International School of Science Summer School grew considerably from last year, nearly doubling from the 25 participants seen in 2015.
The school plans to continue to hold the summer school in the future, even after it starts operating a full-time international school of science, Nomura said, adding that he felt the passion of Asian students interested in learning science and technology.
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