Nurturing a sense of adventure about the ILC at Makibori Elementary in Morioka – Science and dreams with the Engineering Girls

The original article was published in the Morioka Times (September 4, 2016 edition).

On September 2nd, a lecture on the ILC was held at Morioka City’s Makibori Elementary School (Principal Michiaki Yamaguchi, 42 students) sponsored by the Morioka Regional Development Bureau. The lecture was helmed by the Engineering Girls, a group of students in Iwate University’s Faculty of Science and Engineering, who talked about the ILC in an easy-to-understand way. Seven sixth graders attended the lecture, where their dreams for the near future were stoked because “you guys will be in your late twenties when the ILC is created, so you’ll be the main actors in the project.”

This is the second lecture held by the Engineering Girls this year. The group of four science and engineering students talked about the role of the ILC, the secrets of the universe, and how Iwate will change because of the ILC. They used models to make their explanations easy to understand.

The children were taught that all of the things around them, from water to a 1 yen coin, were made up of “particles.” They used a magnifying lens to peer at water and coins to see if they could see their particles. When they realized they would not be able to see particles no matter how hard they tried, they learned more about the ILC’s role in studying the mysterious elementary particles that make up the universe, like the Higgs particle.

If the ILC is built in the Kitakami mountains, scientists from all over the world will come to Iwate. New communities will be created, with the potential for new demand. Aito Hasegawa (6th grader) said, “It looks like we’ll need a lot of places for them to stay and shop. I think it’s best to be able to speak English too. I’m not too good at it now so I want to try harder. In the future I’d like to find a job that’s related to the things I like, like sports.”

One of the Engineering Girls, third year science and engineering student Yuki Wada (20 years old, from Morioka City) said, “The children who listened to our lecture today will be adults when the ILC will start its experiments. I hope they gain an interest in the mysteries that surround them every day.”