Life Science and Technology News
The School of Life Science and Technology recently teamed up with the Tokyo Tech Museum to provide elementary school students — and their guardians — with a two-day science workshop on August 3 and 4. Part of the Institute's science education support project to develop intellectual creativity among elementary, middle, and high school students, and funded by the Tokyo Tech Fund, the event brought together 29 child-and-guardian pairs over the two days. Guiding the children with their hands-on tasks were Professor Emeritus Yukihisa Hamaguchi, alumni of the Hamaguchi Lab, and staff from the Tokyo Tech Museum and Archives.
Day One focused on learning about plant leaves and creating "natural bookmarks." The youngsters began by altering the color of their plants using baking soda and vinegar, and then observed the relationship with pH using a red cabbage broth rich in anthocyanins. To understand the structure of leaf veins, leaves from cherry, gingko, and mulberry trees on campus were placed in a test tube containing a fluorescent dye. After the leaves absorbed the moisture and the dye spread, the students were able to observe how water is transported around the leaf. To conclude, the mesophyll tissue was removed from the leaves of cherry, holly osmanthus, and sasanqua trees, leaving only the vein structures and creating a beautiful, natural bookmark.
On Day Two, the children learned about echinoderms and built cool sea urchin lamps. Things kicked off with a lesson on the structure and movements of echinoderms. The participants observed actual sea urchins in seawater, and watched as they dug themselves into the sand. They also witnessed how starfish soften their body to right themselves after becoming overturned, and observed sea fireflies fluorescing. To wrap up the day, the participants used the shells of Clypeaster japonicas, Scaphechinus mirabilis, and Hemicentrotus pulcherrimus urchins to build lamps.
The two days of smiles, laughter, and science ended successfully, albeit too quickly. As in the past, Tokyo Tech staff and alumni were pleased to be able to offer families a summer holiday activity to remember.
Tokyo Institute of Technology iGEM is supported by Tokyo Tech Fund
School of Life Science and Technology
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Information on School of Life Science and Technology inaugurated in April 2016