“Have you heard of the ILC?”

Ask that question to the children of Iwate (home of the ILC candidate site), and they’ll immediately reply, “Of course we have!” These children have been learning about the ILC thanks to TV and radio programs, as well as lessons at school.

Unfortunately, our children in next-door Miyagi Prefecture aren’t quite as well-versed in the project. That’s why the Tohoku ILC Promotion Council worked to put on an ILC Summer Festival at the Sendai/Miyagi Science Day at Tohoku University, an event held every year to teach science and technology to elementary school students. At the ILC Summer Festival, we worked hard to make the ILC a fun topic to entice children to learn more.

The entrance to Science Day at Tohoku University

What’s the Sendai/Miyagi Science Day?

The Science Day is held every year at Tohoku University, a world-leader in STEM research. There, children can experience the scientific process with all five senses. Over 10,000 people (children and parents alike) attended this year’s Science Day on July 15th (Sun). It was a day for children to experience the joy of science, from riding electric go-karts to a special exhibit called “Shining a ‘light’ on things we can’t see” (celebrating the decision to build a synchrotron facility in Miyagi).

Learn more about the event


Electric go-karts

The ILC Summer Festival

Summer festivals are held throughout Japan, with each shrine and temple and neighborhood having their own cultures and customs. Children look forward to these festivals every year.

For this year’s Science Day, the Tohoku ILC Promotion Council put together a ring toss game, story time with picture cards, and other games and events you would find at a typical summer festival. This was all to teach kids about the ILC and the universe in a fun and interesting way. All in all, 1,500 science-loving children and their parents showed up to our festival.

The doorway to the ILC festival


Inside the room

ILC Ring Toss – Learning about elementary particles

Ring toss simply involves a player standing a short distance away while attempting to throw rings onto targets. In our version, each target represented a particle like the Higgs boson or the top quark, and children got to learn about all 17 (known) elementary particles while trying to hit their targets.

ILC Ring Toss

Ball Scooping Game – Showing that we only understand 5% of the universe

A ball scooping game usually has a plastic pool of water filled with rubber bouncy balls, and children have to use a flimsy paper net to catch as many as they can before it tears. In our version, 95 of the balls were black, and only 5 were different colors. This was to show the children that we only understand 5% of the universe, and the rest of it consists of dark matter and dark energy. All of them were surprised after we taught them this! After hearing the short explanation, they had 30 seconds to pick up the 5 color balls. What a fun way to learn about the universe’s mysteries.

ILC Ball Scooping Game

Review with an ILC Quiz

What are the smallest particles in the universe? What’s the name of the machine that will recreate the conditions of the Big Bang? How much of the universe do humans understand? We had a quiz on all of the things we taught at our summer festival, and the children did amazing.

The quiz

Do all the activities and get an ILC Medal!

To each child who cleared the Ring Toss, Ball Scoop, and the quiz, we presented an ILC Supporters medal. We tried to tie it into the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games by giving gold, silver, and bronze medals according to their scores. We brought a ton with us, but the gold medals were the first to run out! It just proves how many children are interested in science and the ILC.

The different medals

Around 300 new ILC Supporters!

With this event, we were able to get 300 new ILC Supporters to join up!

We will continue to spread the word about the ILC to the people of Japan to help the project become a reality.


 ~学都 仙台・宮城サイエンスデイ2018から~