Hakusanroku Journal 白山麓ジャーナル:English STEM

June 26, 2020 Operation

Classes are starting to get back to normal. I am quite happy about that as it is going to allow me try out a cross disciplinary team project in the Bridge Biology class.

Are you familiar with the game “Operation”? If you’re not, here’s a link to an early 80s tv advertisement for the game. 

To play this game, you have to choose a card and remove the problem from the patient with tweezers, without touching the sides. The problems are things like Brain Freeze, Butterflies in the Stomach and Funny Bone. If you can successfully remove the problem, you get points. The player with the most points wins the game. If the tweezers touch the sides as you are removing the problem, it completes a circuit and an alarm sounds and you don’t get any points. I used to play this game when I was a boy, but always lost to my father. It was an unfair competition, since he was a surgeon.

Anyhow, to learn about cell biology, cell organelles and their functions, the Bridge Biology class is going to build versions of “Operation.” Plant and animal cells are going to take the place of the patient and organelles like nucleus, chloroplast and ribosome are going to take the place of the problems. After choosing a card which gives the organelle function, for example, “Where a plant cell makes food,” students will have to identify the organelle (chloroplast) and try to remove it from the cell without setting off an alarm.

This is not just a Biology project. Besides the cell organelles and their functions, students are going to learn English, Electronics/Engineering, Design and Programming. To complete the project, student teams are going to have to design their game, program the game with Scratch, build the game with a Makey-Makey microcontroller and do it all in English. After each team finishes building their game, they will demonstrate their game and let other teams play it. By building and playing these games, students will be able to learn and review key Biology concepts and the games will be available for future students to help them with their Biology classes.

Ian Stevenson







January 7, 2020

Hello everyone! The Christmas and New Year’s holidays are coming soon which means that the current year is coming to an end. From this year, the schedule of Hakusanroku campus matches the schedule of KIT, which means that students will finish their classes and final exams for the term at the end of January, at the same time as the university students, which is very soon! This is even more significant for the second-graders since this is in fact their last term on the Hakusanroku campus. Starting from the next term in April, they will embark on a one-year journey in New Zealand to continue their studies. It is interesting to see students looking forward to spring vacation now while it is still December!

On a different topic, in my biology class, students will have to do a presentation at the end of the term about a topic related to what they have learned during the term. First-graders’ topics are related to genetics and plants, so some students chose to do their presentation about genetic medical conditions like albinism and heterochromia and other students chose to do their presentation about staple crops among other topics. On the other hand, second-graders’ topics are related to evolution and the phylogeny of the main kingdoms of organisms on earth, so some students chose to do their presentation about cephalopods, felines and jellyfish among others. I am looking forward to listening to their presentations next month!

Jason de Tilly





October 2, 2019

Hello everyone! Summer vacation has ended and it has now been a couple of weeks since classes have started here at Hakusanroku campus. Students seem to have spent a nice holiday and look refreshed to tackle this new term. As for my summer vacation, I had the chance to visit Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea. It was busy, but a lot of fun!

In my last journal entry, I wrote about how second year students had to write a journal during summer vacation about a scientific article they had to read related to STEM. Students had to read the scientific article and then write a summary and their thoughts about it to finally hand in their journal after returning from summer vacation. They also had to present their journal orally to teachers on September 20th. The scientific article topics they chose ranged from astrophysics, renewable energies, archeology and much more!

Students seem to have had more trouble writing their journals than orally presenting them, struggling a little to express themselves in written form. However, during their presentations, they did a good job vulgarizing and conveying the important information about their article to the teachers present. It was also very interesting to hear what they thought about the articles and why they thought the discoveries and topics presented in the articles were important for the future of science and research. I think the presentations were a success and I hope it made students more interested in learning about scientific discoveries and realize how they relate to what they are leaning here in school. I am looking forward to repeating this activity next year with our current first year students!

Jason de Tilly





July 16, 2019

Hello everyone! It has been a long time since my last entry in winter. Since then, the first school year of this new mountainside campus has ended and the second one has begun. Second year students are entering the final stretch of their time here at Hakusanroku campus and the new first year students seem to already be getting used to life here. Students have been able to join different clubs since last April and they seem to be enjoying them very much. The clubs offer a welcome break from classes and studying.

For this summer vacation, I am in charge of the second year students’ STEM-related summer homework. Students will have to choose a scientific news article related to science, technology, engineering or mathematics and write a journal including a summary about the article and their thoughts and opinions on it. They will also have to make a presentation about the article when they come back from summer vacation. Students can choose an article of their liking and get it approved by a teacher or they can also choose from a selection of articles that has been provided by science teachers. The topics include the physics of black holes, the discovery of exoplanets, the uses of carbon nanotubes, renewable sources of energy and many more! I am looking forward to reading their journals and seeing their presentations! I will be sure to update you in the next entry.

Jason de Tilly




June 5, 2019 Math and life: A promising cooperation

Hi everyone. This semester, Professor Steven Carrera and I teach Algebra and Geometry “A” course to the second grade students at ICT. We prepared the syllabus and decided the lesson plan, then started preparing the class materials late last year. As Mr. Carrera is a professional math teacher and I am an engineer, the classes have been organized in a way that uses the major experience of both teachers. Mr. Carrera teaches the theories, the definitions and the basic concepts of all topics accompanied by many solved examples in order to clarify the different ideas of each topic. This part of the curriculum is very important for the students to build-up and strengthen their math skills. Such skills are very essential for engineers during the designing, programming and operating processes.

I teach the real-life applications which relate math theories to the world around us. This part of the curriculum will answer the question which always arises inside the students’ mind: Why do we study all these math theories?!? I expect that the students will enjoy our class a lot more after they find out why the different theories they learned are useful for solving real life problems. In this case, our class could be a model of giving opportunity to students to build up a solid foundation of a certain topic as well as understanding the world around them. This goal can’t be achieved unless there is a promising cooperation between teachers.

Alaa Hussein




February 21, 2019 Biology Presentations by first-year students


On February 21, the first-year students at Hakusanroku campus gave their final presentation in the biology class. For the past several weeks, students have worked in pairs on topics of their choice in the realm of biology. Each pair did research and prepared their presentation in English, a second language to most of them. Many teachers gathered in the Science Lab to listen to their presentations and ask questions. Here is a short video of what their final product was like!


221日、白山麓キャンパスの1年生が生物の最終発表会を行いました。この発表は、学生が2人ずつのペアを作り、数週にわたって生物にまつわる自由なテーマのもと、リサーチとプレゼン準備をしてきました。当日はScience Labに各学科の先生も多数集まりました。ほとんどの学生にとっては第二言語となる英語のプレゼンの様子を短いビデオにまとめましたので、ぜひご覧ください。


January 22, 2019

Happy new year everyone. Winter break is over and our students all returned in one piece. I am most happy as a teacher that they enjoyed a fruitful vacation, Christmas and New Year's.

I am in charge of Physics at ICT. So, I would like to introduce the experiment we conducted in class last week. Currently, we are studying circular motion. Last week, we conducted an experiment to find the formula of centripetal acceleration using a conical pendulum. I asked Ise sensei (who is skilled at making machines) to help me build the contraption for the experiment. It still took a whole day to build between the two of us. Changing the voltage applied to the motor of this homemade machine changes the angular velocity, which changes the vertical angle of the cone created by the rotating spindle… I guess that's enough complicated lecture. In the experiment, I asked students to measure the spindle's rotation period and the vertical angle of the cone. From their data, we calculated the centripetal acceleration, which was only off by 3% of the theoretical value. Great work! The error of my results when testing the experiment before the class was 6%, so I must admit younger students have better reflexes and are more accurate with a stopwatch.

My aim for this experiment was to have students to experience the formula we learned in earlier classes through actual physical phenomenon. How far my intention actually reached the students is beyond my knowledge. As for me, I was worried if the contraption would work properly at first. However, I was finally relieved when, after many trial and error of changing the material and shape of the spindle and rearranging the rotation unit, we finally made it work. I learned a lot from this class, even as a teacher. As always, physics, the connection of reality and theory is a profound subject.

Meguru Ito






October 12, 2018

Hello. It's Kihara, the first-year homeroom teacher. Today, I would like to introduce our math class at Hakusanroku campus.

Here at the Hakusanroku campus, there are four math teachers. Hazwan sensei, Alaa sensei, Steven sensei, who just joined us this month, and myself. Our nationalities are all different: Malesia, Egypt, America and Japan. Together, we teach math in English. Can you imagine taking a math class in English? Many people may picture their junior high school or high school math class and think "understanding lectures and solving problems in English sounds difficult." I agree. High school math is difficult enough in your first language. At Hakusanroku campus, we have math lectures in English. However, the time teachers use the blackboard and slides is less than half of the period. Most of the class is devoted to time where students teach each other and solve problems together. For example, the following question was created by our first-year students. Can you figure out the answer?

Calculate the following:

Lately, more and more students are writing their answers in English and speaking with the international teachers. It seems they are gradually adjusting to using English in math class. This class is different from simply sitting and listening to a teacher, or taking notes written on the blackboard and solving problems. If you are interested in this style, maybe ICT is the right school for you. Oh, by the way, the answer to the previous equation is 1. Did you solve it? See you.

Hitoshi Kihara





木原 均


October 5, 2018 STEM Fair

Students have been on vacation for about one month and a half from the beginning of August to the end of September. During that time, they went back to their homes and could relax. They also had to work on a STEM project of their choice and then present it at a fair at Hakusanroku campus. “STEM” stands for science, technology, engineering and mathematics, so students had a wide variety of choices for their projects depending on their interests.

The STEM fair was held on September 26th. Students each presented their project in English with a poster and some even brought props from their project. These projects ranged from building a remote controlled car to measuring the effectiveness of house cleaning products on killing mold to surveying Japanese people and foreigners on their ratio preference for pictures. The students put a lot of work and effort into their projects and it was nice to see the fruits of their labor. Doing projects of that scope in a second language is not easy, but they did a great job.

All teachers who came to see the projects were invited to evaluate them. The two best students were awarded with a first and second prize. Furthermore, an additional four students were awarded with a special award. These six winners will have to present their projects again during the ICT school festival that will take place on October 20th and 21st. Good luck to the students and I hope many people will come to encourage them!

Jason de Tilly


10月5日 STEMフェア






August 2, 2018

This is Kodaka, in charge of Engineering Context. Today I would like to talk about this class. In the first half of the class, we learned about ethics needed as an engineer, the influence and background of how various technology was born, and the code of behavior we should follow when creating something new. In the second half of the class, we studied an important communication skill for engineers, drawing. Drawing is a skill of communication that is not only a valuable method of communication but also a vital process in product realization through mind development and visual thinking.

The course is reaching the stage in which students use what they have learned in the first semester to create new value. We use half of the class for group brainstorming to devise a theme. Putting yourself in other people's shoes is indispensable for this activity. However, it also cultivates engineering ethics as well as user empathy resulting in a well-balanced understanding of the idea creation process. The verbalized idea reports created by the students will be finalized as visual reports. Next week will be our last class and evaluation date for the students' presentations. I am looking forward to their final products.

Lately I feel that people's response in social media to incidents in society is somewhat off. There is a clear lack of common sense in the general public's thought process, decision making, attitude, and action toward things in society. I believe this unbalance of mind and thought is due to greed, self-interest, losing track of the essence of matter, or unconventional logic. In this age of interconnected society, it is important to retain a wide viewpoint and broad mind. However, it is equally important to look at the essence of things from multiple angles and converge diverse opinions with conscious ethical thinking. This class will continue to focus on creating honest engineering ethics, where students can contemplate together how the engineer should be in the future.

 Arihiro Kodaka




 小髙 有普


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