RIKEN in the Community#01

Collaborations with
Yokohama Science Frontier High School (YSFH)

Voice of
Yukimasa Uekusa, Super Science High School teacher
Yokohama Science Frontier High School

Strong ties even before the YSFH opened

YSFH is one of a select number of Super Science High Schools designated by the Japanese government (Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)), to help stem the waning popularity of science among school-aged children and to nurture the scientists needed to sustain Japan’s world-class science and technology society.

The City of Yokohama endorsed YSFH as a new kind of concept school with particular emphasis on an education based on advanced scientific research. RIKEN was involved from the school’s planning stages, and we have been honored to have top-level researchers, including RIKEN’s Dr. Akiyoshi Wada, serve as advisors. Technology advisors from numerous other research institutes, universities and companies now support us, but RIKEN continues to be our largest supporter.

Image of Yokohama Science Frontier High SchoolYokohama Science Frontier High School

The educational significance of
exposure to the front lines of research

High school science classes normally teach empirically verified theories. However, we encourage our students to nurture their own thinking, intuition and creativity through interaction with the latest research.

Students’ eyes light up as they visit the nearby RIKEN facilities and listen to researcher’s aspirations as they talk about their work, which sets the stage for a deeper interest in learning that eventually leads to a goal of becoming a scientist.

Furthermore, our students personally observe researchers of various nationalities working together at RIKEN. They come to realize the true globalization of the scientific community as well as the vital importance of English as a communication tool.

The educational collaboration between RIKEN and YSFH therefore has great meaning for our students.

Image of YSFH students on a RIKEN facilities tour.YSFH students on a RIKEN facilities tour.

Inquiring and communicative minds born of inspiration
from researchers

Dr. Akiyoshi Wada is our regular advisor. He holds a “Wada Salon” weekly for students. The topics vary but often lead to questions about what constitutes scientific thinking and learning. I have learned quite a lot myself and so have the students—we all listen intently. Some students have even said they would like to hold their own salon.

Students who volunteer to help out on RIKEN Yokohama Open Day are motivated to teach those younger than themselves, such as elementary or middle school students, the fun of science. The young scientists at RIKEN Yokohama serve as role models for our students, who then expand the circle of scientific learning to even younger students. I strongly feel that this is one of the goals that we should aim for as the core Super Science High School in the community.

Joint program with YSFH and Saint Maur International SchoolJoint program with YSFH and
Saint Maur International School

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