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Collaborated leaning between Universities and High Schools --Aiming to Develop the Ability to Question and Find Solutions

Momoko Hosokawa
Instructor of Science (Chemistry)
Chuo University Junior and Senior High School at Koganei

Chuo University Senior High School at Koganei is a university affiliated school. Through extensive cooperation between the high school and university, students at Chuo University Senior High School at Koganei can select the faculty and department which suits them best. Especially for the sciences, the goal of our high school is to go beyond simply having students select a university for further study; instead, we seek to nurture self-motivating students who can clearly state the department in Chuo University Faculty of Science and Engineering at which they wish to study, the professor from whom they wish to learn, and the type of research they wish to perform. Chuo University Senior High School at Koganei has been designated as a Super Science High School (SSH; from the 2018 to 2022 academic year) with the research theme of "developing educational curricula to foster scientific technology human resources who will support next-generation innovation and succeed after enrolling at university." In this article, I would like to introduce a third-year science class at our high school, that utilizes the advantage of a university-affiliated high school and allow students to pursue their field of interest without being forced to study for entrance examinations, based on our university-high school collaboration with the Chuo University Faculty of Science and Engineering, with an aim to facilitate students' learning at university.

Poster presentation at the SSH Tokyo Workshop

It is difficult for high school students to choose their own path for the future. High school is a time when many students feel uncertain about their future--for example, they are not sure what kind of work they want to do and what kind of adult they want to become. The most important thing when taking university entrance examinations is to first select an undergraduate school based on the field which interests you the most and visit universities. For university entrance examinations, it is important to consider the department you want to study based on the field which interests you the most and visit universities, and then considering what subjects are to be tested. In science fields, each department has a particularly high level of expertise in specific fields. Selecting a right department becomes very important because your department will be directly related to your research. The Faculty of Science and Engineering at Chuo University has a total of ten departments dealing with a variety of fields, some of which are similar and others are completely different from each other. Therefore, as an affiliate of Chuo University, our high school gives students the opportunity to choose their path after experiencing the university atmosphere and class, and receiving advice from older students. These opportunities are the advantage of connections between students and the university formed over a period of seven, ten, or twelve years.

Experience in attending university lectures

In June, our high school has a one-week period during which students can audit lectures at the Faculty of Science and Engineering. This one-week period allows students to attend several interesting lectures and get a first-hand experience for the atmosphere of university lectures. The lectures are carefully selected by university instructors so that students can easily understand the characteristics of each department.

Students attending a presentation held by Chuo University after the lecture auditing experience

Many people may doubt if high school students can actually listen to and understand university lectures. They may question if the audit experience has any real meaning. In actuality, not all the students were willing to attend the lectures. As a teacher, I was also concerned if high school students attending university lectures would be able to understand the content. However, upon listening to students' feedback after the lectures, I realized that they participated more actively in lectures and learned more than I had imagined.

At this point in the article, I would like to introduce feedback from students.

Department of Integrated Science and Engineering for Sustainable Society/First Aid Theory and Practice

Student Y
The lecture which I attended focused on how to devise improvements based on past experiences. I learned that there is considerable concern about a tsunami striking Kamakura. Despite such concerns, I am now interested to learn more about why Shonan was selected for the Olympic sailing venue.

Student T
The lecture which I attended explained the importance of ensuring aftercare for people who have received emergency care. The lecture made me realize that it is not only residents who must be evacuated from a tsunami, but also tourists. Through the lecture, I realized that Japan must give a deep thought on how to respond to possible disasters during the upcoming Tokyo Olympics, a time when an extremely large number of tourists will be visiting Japan.

Department of Biological Sciences/Molecular genetics

By taking this lecture, I was surprised to learn that DNA is more fragile than I had expected and can be damaged by water and nitrous acid. I also learned that there are several genetic diseases. I am interested in learning what other diseases exist and how to cure them.

Department of Precision Mechanics/Robotics

In this lecture, I learned that the direction in which a robot can move becomes restricted when it reaches a singular point, and therefore, to control the movement of a robot and achieve stable movement, the robot should be moved away from a singular point. I found this concept very difficult and felt the need to study more.

As shown in these feedbacks, attending university lectures enabled many students to increase their curiosity and caused them to reflect upon their studies at high school. Therefore, I felt that the auditing experience should be continued in the future.

In addition, graduates of Chuo University Senior High School at Koganei give a special lecture at the open campus of the Chuo University Faculty of Science and Engineering in August. In addition to introducing the contents of university classes, the lecture will also give students the opportunity to hear first-hand accounts of life at the university--a topic of great interest for high school students. After the lecture, high school students can freely visit the university laboratories. This gives them the opportunity for self-reflection right up until their final decision on their academic path and undergraduate school of study.

Graduation research

Attending university involves more than simply attaining knowledge. In many cases, students consider large problems without any obvious answers. As a result, some students suddenly become unsure of how to study after entering university. There are some students who struggle from the start to figure out the meaning of learning and research after entering university. I hope that graduates of Chuo University Senior High School at Koganei will further heighten their learning ability and continue to devote themselves to studying even after entering university. Therefore, taking advantage of our position as a university-affiliated high school, we give classes and take an approach which focus on learning after entering university. Since our students do not need to study for entrance examinations, students spend their regular classes confirming phenomenon through experiments while cultivating their ability to consider and infer results.

Conducting an experiment on a chemiluminescence luminol reaction

Conducting an experiment on organic chemistry, such as phenols

Graduation research is the main class responsible for cultivating students who are able to identify and solve problems by themselves while still in high school, and continue to be active learners after entering university. Over a year-long period, each student sets a research theme depending on their personal interests, considers experimental methods, and writes a thesis. Many students have trouble deciding on a theme; indeed, this initial step is the most difficult. Teachers also create time to meet with students on a one-on-one basis and support them in finding topics which truly spark their interest. However, after students have set their themes, teachers are responsible for providing guidance on each experiment method and data processing operation. Nevertheless, having students decide on their own theme and conduct experiments while still in high school enables them to absorb a huge amount of learning methods. Nothing excites teachers more than listening to a report given by a highly-motivated student.

Students conducting graduation research have the opportunity to visit laboratories of instructors in the Faculty of Science and Engineering around their summer vacation. During these visits, students get valuable advice on how to proceed with their research. These new suggestions from university experts cause some students to become even more enthusiastic about their research.

Last year, a student who took over a research from senior students on methods for eliminating musty odors did a research on a cloth that was emitting an extremely foul odor. Another student who was a swimmer researched a swimming stroke for reducing the resistance of water. To accomplish this goal, the student performed research on simple visualization of water flow. Many of the research ideas conceived by students are interesting and unique to high school students. At the end of the year, students give presentations at the Faculty of Science and Engineering, and university faculty members participate in a Q&A session. Each student is responsible for preparing their own presentation, and there is a healthy sense of tension in the air when presentations are given.

Giving an interim presentation on graduation research

Conducting an experiment to visualize water flow

From the first year at Chuo University Senior High School at Koganei, our students participate in classes and lectures that incorporate logical thinking skills and scientific perspectives to cultivate scientific thinking skills, enrich the content of the graduation research of high school third graders, and strengthen collaboration between our high school and Chuo University. Since the 2019 academic year, we hold Project in English III for Science. As an integrated subject for science and English, it consists of giving a presentation of graduation research in English.

Through the collaboration between our high school and university, students are becoming more aware of the types of learning necessary for entering university, as well as the learning necessary for producing results after entering university. By attending university lectures, experiencing the actual university atmosphere, and becoming familiar with new methods of learning, many students have recognized the importance of acquiring correct knowledge and developing their own ideas. In their graduation theses, students pose their own questions and find their own solutions, which gives them the ability to set goals and reach conclusions. In fact, during graduation research presentations, you can tell which students worked hard on their research by their confident and lively expressions. I look forward to seeing more students with lively expressions in the future, and I will continue to work to strengthen collaboration between our high school and university

Chemistry experiment: Chemical equilibrium

Creating chemical fiber, copper ammonia rayon

Chemistry experiment: Creating methyl salicylate

Graduation research: Programming

List of graduation research themes in the 2018 academic year

・Implementation of restitution coefficient in side-scrolling action game
・Implementation of acceleration in shooting games
・Graph and game production using computer-generated random numbers
・Numerical simulations in ideal gas
・Proposal of a new school building "Forest of Learning"--How should the classroom building be rebuilt?
・Methods for controlling odors in daily life: Understanding control methods and characteristics for S odor
・Decomposition ability of bacteria inhabiting coral reefs
・What influences zebrafish selection time?
・Relationship between visual and olfactory senses of caridina typus in reaction to food
・Car that moves via a light sensor
・Easy visualization of object vibration
・Measuring temperature changes by wind
・Considering the creation of clean energy using water evaporation
・Asking junior high schools about their thoughts on mathematics
・Data analysis using t-test: Is the reading of graphs as seen from statistics correct?
・Simplification of visibility for water flow: Low resistance water flow
・Observation of vibrations in seismic isolation structures
・Acoustics of the auditorium in Chuo University Junior and Senior High School
・Methods of sound absorption by materials
・Why is mesh made of hexagons best for soccer goal nets?

Momoko Hosokawa

Instructor of Science (Chemistry)

Chuo University Junior and Senior High School at Koganei

Momoko Hosokawa graduated from the Department of Agricultural Chemistry in the School of Agriculture, Meiji University. While at Meiji University, she conducted research on lactic acid bacteria in yogurt at the Laboratory of Fermented Foods. She assumed her current position in 2015. She is in charge of cooperation between Chuo University Senior High School and Chuo University for the SSH Program.