registered charity 1086933
UK-Japan Young Scientists Working Together
JAPAN 2001 SCIENCE, CREATIVITY AND
THE YOUNG MIND WORKSHOP
Hosted at the University of Bristol, July 22-30, 2001,
Public Presentations by UK-Japan Student Teams, Friday 27 July 2001
Patron; The Rt Hon the Lord Jenkin of Roding
1. The Japan 2001 Science Creativity and the Young
Mind Workshop was a First.
Nothing quite like it had been attempted before. As part of the Japan
2001 Festival, sixty post-16 school students from schools across Britain
and Japan came together to work in small teams with expert guidance
on a wide range of cutting-edge, science-related explorations which
put their school knowledge to real life use and challenged their ingenuity
and creativity. The Workshop was free of charge to students on arrival
in Bristol. A message of welcome from Lord Sainsbury of Turville, Parliamentary
Under Secretary of State for Science and Innovation is appended.
2. THE STUDENTS
2.1 UK students were selected with guidance from the University
of Bristol Widening Participation Office using criteria which gave strong
preference to students from homes having little previous contact with
2.2 Japanese students were selected by a team led by Professor Mamoru
Shimoi (University of Tokyo/ Chemical Society of Japan) and Japanese
colleagues representing other scientific disciplines, a number of whom
attended the Workshop as observers. Dr Toru Okano of the Rokkyo School,
Horsham played a crucial role in establishing this partnership.
2.3 Both in Japan and in Britain the Workshop was rapidly over-subscribed,
and in both countries two thirds of the applicants were women.
3.1 By providing school students with opportunities to work with professionals
in a wide range of science-related fields, the Workshop addressed serious
concerns in Britain and in Japan that science education is perceived
by many young people as difficult, dull and irrelevant. Such grass roots
partnerships which transcend the world of school science are currently
not common in the UK and are rare in Japan.
3.2 In this context, the Workshop sought to enable the students to
develop a broader vision of science and its applications, and to develop
more fully the "scientist within themselves" whether or not
they intended a career in science. The Workshop sought to enable students
to put the skills and understandings they had gained in school to real
life use, and to experience science as something more than a compendium
of "right answers", but rather as a creative, human questioning
and exploration in which all can share.
3.3 Integral to this a major objective of the Japan 2001 Workshop was
an exploration of the potential of science as a context through which,
by living and working together on real life issues, Japanese and UK
students can experience, share and learn about each other's cultures
and life styles, ways of thinking and of doing things. .
3.4 The Workshop built on earlier work of the Trust with teachers and
scientists in both countries sharing experiences of bringing excellence
and relevance to science education in their respective countries.
4.1 Students worked in a UK-Japanese Teams of six, with the guidance
of professionals in their fields, in one of the following ten science-related
· earthquake engineering
· ethics in medicine
· science communication through theatre,
· space science
· wildlife conservation.
Students were assigned to particular Teams on the basis of preference
they indicated before the Workshop.
4.2 At the end of the week, an afternoon was set aside to enable each
Team to give a concise Public Presentation on its achievements.
4.3 The challenges the students faced were formidable. In addition
to the very considerable challenge of the science, there was the additional
challenge of language, and it was far from certain initially how successfully
this would be addressed. The fact that it was says a great deal for
the maturity and the determination of the students who worked extremely
hard to make the Workshop the great success it was. Major contributors
to this success were the Facilitators, Japanese undergraduates and graduate
students from Bristol University Japanese Society (mostly not scientists),
one of whom worked with each Team. They developed their role as the
Workshop progressed and played an essential role in enabling the Teams
to bond and to overcome their inevitable initial difficulties.
4.4 Throughout the Workshop, students lived together as sole occupants
of a University Hall of Residence. In addition to their project teamwork,
a programme of visits was arranged, and there were social events in
the evenings through which students shared their diverse cultural experiences.
The UK team was multiethnic, which added to the interest.
5.1 It is very clear that in spite of, or because of, the major challenges
the students faced and overcame, the dominant reaction of both UK and
Japanese students was one of great exhilaration and pride in what that
achieved. The responses are a world away from the "science is boring"
"science is irrelevant" attitudes commonly ascribed to young
people in secondary schools (see C. Lever, Science is boring!, letter,
School Science Review, 83 (303) 17-20 (Dec 2001)).
5.2 The following are typical of the feedback received as part of a
detailed Student Evaluation of the Workshop.
· when at school, I was learning the science without being able
to apply it; now I know what real science is like; I love it!
· I managed to do a written report and presentation on a subject
I knew nothing about with people I did not know, and yet to enjoy myself
at the same time. I feel so proud to have taken part. I will never forget
· I have learnt loads, not just about science but an awareness
of the world
· it has changed my attitude a lot. I thought the Japanese were
lovely people and I have realised there is so much to learn about the
· school teaches only the formula or the calculation, but the
Workshop is researched into deeply by myself
· at the beginning of the week, communication was a problem,
but now it has been overcome and everything is exciting..
· it has made me realise how much differences we all have, yet
we all have so much in common and can enjoy our differences instead
of having conflicts
· [at the end...].said that the end is the beginning. I think
so too. I want to learn more about science and continue our friendship.
I cannot express my feeling. I am very, very, very glad to take part
in this Workshop
5.3 Linked with this, the Students responded incredibly well to the
challenge and worked very hard indeed. They and we were amazed at the
progress that they made and at the enthusiasm which was engendered.
At the end of the week, a whole afternoon of public presentations by
the student teams showed just how much had been achieved. A quotation
from the scientists at NASA with which the student Space Science Team
was in daily video conference link emphasizes this point. The ICT link
with NASA was the inspiration of Lawrence Williams of Holy Cross School,
New Malden, who supported the team throughout.
During four videoconferencing connections between Joe Kolecki and
the Space Science team, we witnessed real world science education
at its finest... studying images and maps of Mars with their Bristol
University team leaders, the six young scientists developed a final
presentation to Joe on what they learned, their still unanswered questions,
and suggestions for further investigations. Special guests from NASA
and the Center of Science and Industry (COSI) in Toledo, Ohio, all
felt the excitement of the real life scientific investigation and
were amazed at the students' initiative and hard work. The model demonstrates
effective collaboration among diverse cultures, as well as the effective
use of technology (ISDN videoconferencing, e-mail, data sharing, and
the Internet) in the educational setting. More importantly, it demonstrates
that, given an exciting challenge and necessary resources, young people
will far exceed everyone's expectations!
Ruth Petersen, Educational Coordinator, Learning
NASA Glenn Research Center at Lewis Field, Cleveland, Ohio
5.4 A large amount of material was generated by the Workshop, including
Team Reports, material from the Public Presentations, a number of which
were in Powerpoint format, and Evaluations have been provided by the
Students, by the Facilitators and by Team Leaders. There has also been
very positive feedback from some of the schools, and a number of students
have also written after the Workshop. A number of articles are in preparation
or have appeared. These include an article in the British Council Science
Education Newsletter, Dec 2001, articles and short notes in Japan
(Embassy of Japan) Aug 28, 2001, and in various University of Bristol
publications including University News, October 2001, and the
University of Bristol Annual Report. NASA, with whom the Space
Science Team was in contact, has produced its own report on the Workshop
"Real World" Connections through Videoconferences (November
2001), and a letter is in press with the School Science Review
(Association for Science Education), shortly to be followed by an article.
A presentation was also made at the Annual Meeting of the Association
for Science Education, Liverpool, January 2002. Information is also
posted on the Workshop Website, www.clifton-scientific.org/j2001.
6.1 The messages which emerge from both UK and Japanese students include
· that what happens in school can and must be more closely linked
with what happens in the wider world if it is to be meaningful, and
here working partnerships which transcend the world of school provides
a way forward.
· that if students are given opportunity to put their school
knowledge to work in real life open ended contexts, and to have ownership
of their own questioning, they will surprise us by their achievements
· that students need and value opportunities to use their science
collaboratively in groups, in cross disciplinary and cross cultural
human contexts, and through science to have opportunities to develop
as people. Science in such contexts is not a disciplinary ghetto, but
is part of the whole of life.
· that the students almost universally wanted the Workshop experience
When Science is approached in these contexts, it cannot fail to inspire,
to motivate and to be a source of great fulfilment. Context is everything!
6.2 It is very clear that there now exists an opportunity and a need
to build on the success of the Japan 2001 Workshop, which addresses
important science education issues in both The UK and in Britain, as
well as providing a further potentially very important context by which
young people in both countries can learn about each other's cultures
and ways of life.
6.3 The Students who have taken part in the Workshop should be invited
to act as Ambassadors in taking forward this vision. Clifton Scientific
Trust would be very interested in working with Japanese colleagues in
developing this thinking within Japan through presentations, seminars
and the development of materials for use with schools, as well as, as
at present, in the UK. A Focus for this work would be a further Workshop
at a future date, building on the lessons learnt in Japan 2001.
The Japan 2001 Science, Creativity and the Young Mind Workshop was
a Japan 2001 Festival Event, devised and organised by Clifton Scientific
Trust and supported by the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, the Great
Britain Sasakawa Foundation, Japan 2001, and the Chemical Society
Recruitment of British Students was undertaken in association with
the University of Bristol Widening Participation Office, and recruitment
of Japanese students was undertaken and funded by the Chemical Society
of Japan; Council of Chemistry Education in association with the Society
of Biological Sciences Education of Japan, the Physics Education Society
of Japan, and the Japan Society of Earth Sciences Education. Workshop
partners included Airbus UK, Bristol Zoo Gardens, Bristol City Museum,
Connexions West of England, The Environment Agency, The Y Touring
Theatre Company, The University of the West of England and colleagues
from Holy Cross School, New Malden & Rikkyo School, Horsham.
Further information from Dr Eric Albone, Director, Clifton Scientific
; +44-(0)117-924-7664+ fax
Message of Welcome to Japan 2001
Science, Creativity and the Young Mind Workshop
Lord Sainsbury of Turville
The Japan 2001 Science, Creativity and the Young Mind Workshop
constitutes an important first in bringing together post-16 students
from schools across Britain and Japan to work in small teams with top
scientists, engineers and social scientists on a wide range of open-ended
science-related explorations which challenge their ingenuity and creativity.
In the process the students will not only put their school knowledge
to genuine use and discover something of the "scientist in themselves",
but also by living and working together come to understand each other's
ways of thinking and working.
That science in a practical real-life context resonates with young
people is demonstrated by the fact that the Workshop was rapidly oversubscribed
in both countries and, significantly, that the majority of takers are
The outcomes of the Workshop will not only be in widening the vision
of the students taking part, but also in providing a very important
marker for future collaboration between our two countries. In this context,
I welcome the vision of the Clifton Scientific Trust in setting up this
Workshop, of the Japan 2001 Festival in endorsing it as a Festival event,
and of the many partners in both countries who have contributed to its
realisation. Not least, I number among these the University of Bristol
Widening Participation Office, Airbus UK, the Environment Agency, and
other Bristol institutions and, in Japan, the Chemical Society of Japan
who have worked with the other Japanese scientific societies in recruiting
students. Also, the principal sponsors, the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation,
the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation, and the Japan 2001 Secretariat
Most of all, I welcome the young people from our two countries whose
energy and enthusiasm will pioneer such an exciting and important new
Lord Sainsbury of Turville
Minister for Science and Innovation