On November 25 MHI employees taught a science class attended by 53 fifth graders at the Enoura Elementary School in Shimonoseki, Yamaguchi Prefecture. Group employees have been teaching science classes of this kind every year since 2009, targeted at local primary and secondary school students with the aims of conveying the appeal of science and technology to children who will make up the next generation, and arousing their interest in "monozukuri" - making things. The classes are always well received. The latest class in Shimonoseki was taught by young employees from the Shimonoseki Shipyard & Machinery Works. The theme was making a "pop-pop boat" that runs on steam.
The class began with a general introduction to the Shimonoseki Shipyard & Machinery Works and an explanation of how a ship is built. Next, the children were given an explanation of how a pop-pop boat works and how to make one, and then the children were divided into small groups to begin actually constructing one. A pop-pop boat runs on steam discharged when a thin aluminum tube containing water is heated. Though simple in structure, a pop-pop boat involves profound scientific principles, and getting one to go straight is surprisingly difficult. The children in each group went about making prototypes and repeatedly improving on them, all the while receiving advice from the employee in charge of the group. During the second half of the class, races of the completed boats were held by representatives of each group, with the children loudly cheering on their own entry. Ultimately, the members of the winning team were each awarded a special certificate.
The children truly seemed to enjoy the experience. "I gained a good understanding of how a boat works and what you have to do to make it go straight and fast," wrote one. Another commented, "The way everybody from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries taught was really thorough and enjoyable. If this is what it's like, I could really get to like science." Another child remarked, "We were given hints as to what to do to reduce water resistance, and after I went home and tried out some improvements, my boat went even faster, which made me really happy."
Going forward, MHI will continue to convey the fun and enjoyment of science to children through "monozukuri," as part of our way of making contributions to our local communities and supporting the development of the next generation.