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

May 6, 2021 The Hikari Wins Airplane Contest at ICT!

The school year started with a bang! The Hikaru “Peach” airplane type flew 26 meters which is the full length of the ICT Gym. The team comprised of Mahiro Okuyama and Shogo Izumiya. Mahiro and Shogo threw their plane 5 times, each time their airplane called The Hikari flew and landed more than half the length of the ICT gym. The winning throw was done my Mahiro. Among all the students, he threw the farthest distance, covering 26 meters. Congratulations!

The Bridge English at ICT class holds its customary airplane project for First-Year students studying in science in English. This project allows students to work in team and collaborate to make a product. The main goal is that in the Bridge English class, students build and sharpen their study skills to understand the English used in their core subjects. In the Bridge English class, students receive direct instructions in English for studying Biology, Chemistry, Math, and Physics.

For the airplane project, the students select an airplane type and create it (both individually and as a team). Students enhance their designs by selecting several items of their choice: paper, tape, scissor, glue, clips, staples, string, and the like. They practice flying their planes by competing a regional and national contest, in the gym.  Eventually, students tweak their designs to get the best one to represent the team in a world championship contest to find which plane flew the farthest.  Doing the airplane project, puts action into learning. Indeed, students can experience fun while studying science in English.

Pauline Baird





December 1, 2020 Rat Dissection

Hello everyone! Today, I would like to write about an interesting experiment that second grade students have done in biology class here at ICT. Ever since the beginning of this school offering biology classes at Hakusanroku campus, I have been ordering the necessary equipment to eventually be able to do a rat dissection. After some time, we could finally realize this on November 19th 2020! This marked the first time in this school’s history to do such an experiment.

The objectives of the experiment were twofold. First, to get students to familiarize themselves with the different dissection instruments and second, to observe the different mammal organs and organ systems that the students have studied in biology class with their own eyes.

The class began with an explanation of the objectives, the safety measures, the description of the dissection instruments and the description of the procedure. A lot of emphasis was put on the safety measures since students would be working with sharp instruments and live tissues and organs. After the explanations, I proceeded to do a demo dissection so that the students could see the flow of the dissection. Following that, the students carried out the dissection. I offered them to be in pairs if some were not comfortable doing the dissection alone, but most of them surprisingly wanted to do it alone and have one rat each.

It was nice to hear the positive comments and the positive reactions that students had during the experiment when they could see with their own eyes the theory that they have learned in class. After students had finished the main part of the dissection, they were required to call a teacher and identify specific organs from a list that was provided to them. Once they had successfully completed that task, they were free to explore more of the rat or they could finish up and clean up their space.

Overall, I was very pleased with how the class went and how the students approached the experiment with a sense of maturity and interest. We will be sure to repeat this experiment next year as well!

Jason de Tilly

*The pictures have been cropped.








September 16, 2020 Chemistry Portfolios

At ICT, we apply active learning methods in our classes. Most of the time, people think that active learning takes place only when students are involved in group activities or discussions. However, active learning is a lot wider term that takes place when students are more engaged, involved in the learning process where they are responsible of developing skills and gaining knowledge. The role of educators in the active learning process is to create chances, facilitate the materials, and draw students’ interest into new topics. 

In Chemistry classes, students are involved in the learning process in all different ways. Besides, taking notes, performing experiments, and take part in the class or group discussions, students are required to create their own portfolios. In Chemistry Portfolios, students need to include all the possible learning evidences, and journal entries that show how they reflect on their own learning process and gained skills. As I watch my students’ portfolios and read their entries, I learn more about my students as individual learners and people. While reading how they think about what was interesting, challenging, or new, I discovered that our roles as educators is to show our students the doors and give them the keys. Students then decide which door to open and discover a whole new world. I enjoyed reading what my students wrote in their entries. I took S2 students’ permission to pick some examples to share with you, and here they are.  

Taketora wrote, “First thing that I was interested in was that water in solid state is less dense than in liquid state. Actually, I knew that, but I didn’t know why. Water molecules are polar bonded. When they form ice, they are arranged in hexagonal shape because polar forces attract and also repel water molecules. I understand why ice floats on water.

Daiko wrote, “While studying Chemistry IIA, I felt that an understanding of chemistry is essential to understanding nature!”

Shuntaro wrote, “Also, that plasma is the fourth state of matter is new knowledge for me. I did not know about plasma because I never saw it before and the textbook in secondary school that only told me about 3 states of matter.”

Luca wrote, “In terms of learning skills, I have developed skills of getting used to the online learning system using zoom.”

Koutaro wrote, “The most shocking experience in Chemistry IIA was learning that there aren’t only three states of matter, but that there is another, plasma. I heard about a plasma cutter, but I never researched how it works and what the plasma is. Conclusively, Chemistry IIA was an enjoyable and very interesting subject for me. I believe Chemistry IIB will be even more interesting.”

Anna wrote, “I was very interested in experiments. I learned it is important to continue to study and chip away at studying.”

Mao wrote, “Whilst studying Chemistry IIA I have developed many learning skills and study habits that have helped me not only in chemistry but all other subjects. Taking Chemistry IIA has made me see that a lot of what we learn in class has relevance to the real world and are not just concepts for school. It was also interesting to see some of the concepts and ideas I learned as a first-year student intertwining and relating to some of the topics I learn as a second year.”

Miyu wrote, “I will never forget about the topic of particles because it has a relationship with the sunset’s color. I am curious about the sunset’s colors. I'll research more about this relationship during my STEM project 2020. Overall, I did my best this semester. The class was interesting and I learned a lot of new things. I will try everything next semester.”

Yoshiki wrote, “I believe there are lots of skills I have learned during the first semester. One of it is to read the textbook before the chemistry class and take notes about important words. Overall, during this semester, I learned a lot of things about the use of science in daily life, chemical reactions, chemical names, the states of matter, and so on. All of these topics are important for our future and our life.”

Yuudai wrote, “Lastly, I will never forget the information about the states of matter because it might be used in the future to distinguish things.”

Nagwa Fekri Rashed





武虎『最初に興味が湧いたのは固体の水が液体より密度が大きいということです。そのことは知っていましたが、理由がわかりませんでした。水の分子はポーラー結合です。氷になる時、polar forceが水の分子を引き寄せると同時にはじくので六角形の配置になります。氷が水に浮かぶ理由がわかりました。』











July 23, 2020 First-year students’ biology presentation

Hi! This is Jonathan, the camera man. I would like to post a quick journal to show the first-year students' biology presentations. First-year students were divided into pairs or groups of three and given the assignment to research and given a presentation about anything biology related. Every year, this is one of the larger hurdles students have to overcome. Why? Because it's all in English! Most of this year's first-year students are Japanese who only started learning in English this April. Also, presentations are a big part of ICT's curriculum. If there is one thing you get used to, it's giving presentations. One student told me that, including this bio presentation, he had five presentations this week. I will post the videos below. Remember, these are presentations of students that many of, went to Japanese junior high schools six months ago. Enjoy.


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。


HOMECampus LifeHakusanroku JournalEnglish STEM