Laboratory Classes on the Wonders of Chemistry
Point three in the Mitsui Chemicals Group Social Activities Policy is, “Do its bit to nurture future generations, on whose shoulders the future rests.” In order to further this goal on a global basis, the Mitsui Chemicals Group launched the Laboratory Classes on the Wonders of Chemistry program.
Since 2006, we have organized various types of classes, from off-site classes, whereby members of staff from each of our sites go out to local schools, summer vacation events and festivals, to those held during tours round our works and research centers. Approximately 5,000 children took part in classes over the course of fiscal 2018.
Taking into account the interests and opinions of the participants, the Laboratory Class themes are determined and developed by the Head Office and the Sodegaura Center. The Head Office also provides support for the creation and maintenance of manuals allowing development of the program at domestic and overseas group locations. We plan to improve the contents of experiments based on opinions from external experts to better meet each school’s specific needs and challenges.
In recognition of these activities, we received the Catalysis Society of Japan’s 2015 Award for Education and the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) Award for Companies Promoting Experience-based Learning Activities for the Youth (Judge’s Commendation) in the large corporation category for 2015. In addition, we registered with the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Support Group for Saturday Educational Activities Program and are working to spread education to even more children.
～ Educational programs in chemistry receive high marks ～
Experiment Workshop in Longmiao Hope Primary School in China
To celebrate the 10th anniversary of its establishment in 2010, Mitsui Chemicals (China) Co., Ltd. donated funds to rebuild the old buildings of a primary school in the rural area of Anhui, China, as a part of the company’s social contribution project. The school renamed itself as Longmiao Hope Primary School and we have continued to provide support since then. In fiscal 2018, we donated funds to install flush Toilets and attendedthe completion ceremony held on October 10. Our employees also held an experimental workshop to create urethane foam and balloon slime. The children were totally engrossed in the experiment, which turns liquid into a solid material, fully enjoying the wonders of science! We will continue to support the local community through exchanges with Longmiao Hope Project Primary School.
Participating in a Summer Holidays Science Show for Children
On August 4 and 5, 2018, we participated and presented shows in Dream & Science 21 – Summer Holidays Science Show for Children* , held in the Science Museum in Tokyo. In our booth, we organized an experiment of color extraction using our product, TAFNEL™, with 246 primary school pupils in attendance. The children’s surprise and excitement were unforgettable in response to the purple-colored water turning into separate red and blue layers by adding a citric acid solution. The Mitsui Chemical Group will continue to encourage interest in studying science and its related possibilities through our Laboratory Classes on the Wonders of Chemistry.
*Dream & Science 21 – Summer Holidays Science Show for Children
Hands-on scientific workshops for primary school pupils and their parents held during the summer holidays every year. These workshops are sponsored by the Dream & Science 21 Committee, comprising the Chemical Society of Japan; Society of Chemical Engineers, Japan; Japan Association for Chemical Innovation; and the Japan Chemical Industry Association.
The workshops, developed by leading chemical companies in Japan, are specifically designed to entertain and educate children.
Laboratory Classes on the Wonders of Chemistry Experiments
*Experiment titles are subject to change.
|Experiment title||Field||Related Group
|Foamy urethane experiment||Chemical reactions||Isocyanate
|Participants watch urethane, the uses of which include cushion materials, pillows and refrigerator insulation, being foamed and experience reaction heat and differences in hardness|
・ Making your own slime
・ Making jumbo slime together
・ Shiny slime
・ Slime ball
|Polymer properties||─||By making "slime" (i.e. cross-linking polyvinyl alcohol with water using borax), participants learn that water can be confined and about the gels around us in our everyday lives|
|Light experiments with polarizing plate||Light||─||Participants learn about the passage of light through a kaleidoscope fitted with a polarizing plate that converts natural light into linear light, as used in mobile phones and other such devices|
|Chromatography art||Adsorption and separation||─||Participants learn that the ink in a water-based pen contains a mixture of various different colors (pigments)|
|Plastic board||Polymer properties||General plastics||Participants learn about the properties and separation of plastics, by using the heat shrinkable properties of polystyrene to make their own original accessories|
|Let’s make Cartesian divers!||Buoyancy||─||Participants learn about buoyancy and pressure, by making a Cartesian diver from a PET bottle and a plastic soy sauce container|
|Let’s investigate the properties of aqueous solutions using red cabbage||Acids and alkalis||─||Using anthocyanin extracted from red cabbage, participants investigate the properties of everyday liquids and learn about acids and alkalis|
|Let’s make an air freshener using spongy polymers||Polymer properties||Nonwoven fabrics||Participants learn about the principle of water retention, by making an air freshener from a water-absorbing polymer, as used in disposable diapers, gardening supplies and other such products|
|Let’s make a rainbow tower||Specific gravity||─||Participants learn about the specific gravity (relative density) of fluids, by pouring colored waters with varying concentrations together to make a tower|
|Let's make a freezer!||Heat of solution||Urea||Participants learn about the principle of heat adsorption via the heat of solution of urea, as used in such products as fertilizer and moisturizing cream|
|Learn how bubble bath works!||Reaction of acid and salt||─||Participants learn about how carbon dioxide is produced, by making bubble bath from baking soda and citric acid|
|Learn about acid rain!||Acid and alkali
|─||Participants learn about acid rain and what causes it, by measuring the pH using red cabbage extract and conducting a bleaching experiment using iodine|
|Let's make paper!||Recycling / Making paper||Acrylamide||Using everyday implements, participants experience paper recycling from old paper and learn about papermaking and recycling|
|Let's make small objects from melted plastic!||Polymer properties||General thermoplastics||Participants learn about the properties of thermoplastics, which melt when heated, by using a glue gun to melt resin and make small objects|
|Experience the wonders of shrinking films!||Polymer properties||Films, PET, etc.||Participants learn about the principle of heat shrinkage, by using shrinkable film to attach labels and make their own PET bottle|
|See the power of air!||Hydrodynamics||─||Participants learn about air resistance, by observing air rings emitted from an air cannon|
|Let's make snow on pine cones!||Crystals||Urea||Participants learn about crystal deposition, by observing dissolved urea being sprayed onto pinecones and drying|
|Let's make light like a firefly!||Enzymes||─||Participants learn about the difference between bioluminescence and chemiluminescence by making light using each of luciferase enzymes taken from fireflies and using mineral-based chemicals|
|Let’s try and absorb oil!||Polymer properties||TAFNEL™||Participants learn about the principles and how to use adsorbent materials, by absorbing only the oil from mixed oil and water substances They also learn about the impact on the environment of oil spillage|
|Expand? Shrink? Disappear?!
Let’s look into the properties of mystery plastics!
|Polymer properties||Absortomer™||Participants learn about the properties of a variety of plastic films, by taking steps to expand, shrink, and dissolve various plastics. They also learn about changes in polymers (plastics) attributable to temperatures|