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Realizing interesting science lessons that foster future scientists and prevent students from abandoning science

Innovation of school lessons with IoT teaching materials

Realizing interesting science lessons that foster future scientists and prevent students from abandoning science

(Published on December 19, 2018)

While it has been a long time since children's "lack of interest in science" became the focus of public attention, various efforts are being made in the field of education to encourage children to like science more. As a company that handles advanced measurement technologies, we would like more children to know the joy and importance of science. With the measurement technologies we have accumulated through our business, we have devised educational materials and systems that allow children to learn science with ease and interest. One example of such educational materials is the “Magical Spoon (Footnote 1).” We are actively supporting the innovation of school lessons by integrating education with IoT.

Footnote 1: “Magical Spoon” is an information education material where ultrasonic waves made by two clanging spoons are used as digital (0/1) signals to operate a blimp (airship). TOYO Corporation devised the basic concept of "Magical Spoon" and contributed to its completion in cooperation with universities and NPOs.

“Magical Spoon” experiment scene (1)“Magical Spoon” experiment scene (1)

“Magical Spoon” experiment scene (2)“Magical Spoon” experiment scene (2)

Supporting ICT education promotion which started in Ina City, Nagano Prefecture

Ina City, Nagano Prefecture, was selected as one of the first regions of the "local IoT Promotion Lab" supported by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the IoT Promotion Lab. In the “Local IoT Promotion Lab,” not only business but also education is emphasized for the creation of IoT projects. Ina City is also focusing on ICT education as a major initiative in cooperation with Shinshu University. TOYO Corporation also supports this as a pioneer in the development of IoT teaching materials. We support the development of IoT teaching materials and the establishment of new lesson styles in various ways.

Aiming for science lessons where thinking is fun

In science lessons, children learn the scientific way of thinking by solving problems relying on their own thoughts. However, in conventional science experiment lessons, students do not have enough time because they need to operate the equipment, collect data, and sometimes create graphs. Therefore, it is difficult for them to discuss the experimental results sufficiently, to suggest hypotheses based on the results, and to conduct new experiments. Consequently, there is no room to feel the enjoyment of experiments and science.

In view of the above, the joint project team of Shinshu University, Nagoya University, and TOYO Corporation embarked on the project to create enjoyable lessons to help students to think scientifically with ICT technologies. We aimed to create lessons where students can learn actively while experiencing the joy of science.

New experiment lessons with IoT teaching materials

System conceptual diagram of IoT teaching materialsSystem conceptual diagram of IoT teaching materials

The joint project team developed IoT teaching materials using a measurement system that can automate temperature measurements and a data analysis system that operates on the cloud.

The measurement system is customized around the Arduino microcomputer board and is manufactured by combining sensors and other components. The data of the temperature sensor is automatically transferred to the analysis system on the cloud via Wi-Fi at the time intervals specified by students. The analysis system plots the received temperature data on a graph in real-time. Students are able to check the relationship between time and temperature accurately and constantly on their tablet devices.

With this new IoT teaching material, we succeeded in streamlining the measurement work. As a result, students can concentrate on observation, deepen the discussion within a group, and perform experiments under different conditions.

This IoT teaching material can be used for multiple experiments such as "boiling point measurements" and "distillation of mixtures." It offers great potential that makes science lessons with experiments more enjoyable.

Lessons that enhance the ability to think actively

Students are focusing on observation during an experiment.Students are focusing on observation during an experiment.

We succeeded in securing enough time for consideration of experiment results.We succeeded in securing enough time for consideration of experiment results.

Effectiveness of IoT teaching materials is felt in schools

Mr. Kazuhiko MAEJIMA, teacher who gave the actual lessonsQ: Please tell us about the reaction of the students and your impression.

Mr. Takehiko ASUKE, teacher who led the realization of science lessons with experiments using IoT teaching materialsQ:Please tell us about the future outlook.

We also interviewed academics who developed the teaching materials.

“Through IoT teaching materials, I want to prevent children from losing interest in science.”Prof. Mizue KAYAMA, Electrical and Computer Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, Shinshu University
When we conducted a science experiment using IoT teaching materials at Ina City Tobu Junior High School, I felt great potential. In the past, it had been considered difficult to do everything from experimentation to consideration within one lesson. However, by using IoT teaching materials, every student was able to concentrate on observation in the first half of the lesson, and plenty of time was spent for consideration in the second half. IoT teaching materials have a wide range of applications, and I feel further potential. We will continue to make effective use of IoT teaching materials to prevent children from losing interest in science.

IoT teaching materials that expand the ideas of teachers Dr. Takashi NAGAI, Graduate School of Science and Technology, Shinshu University(Footnote 2)
The benefits of IoT teaching materials are not just for students. When we had a discussion with the teachers who conducted the lessons, many of them came up with new ideas for lesson style. Some teachers said that more advanced experiments would be possible in lessons based on the experiments using the Arduino sensor. IoT teaching materials have the potential to expand the ideas of teachers further. They may accelerate the creation of more interesting science lessons.

Footnote 2: As of July 2018. Currently, Dr. Takashi NAGAI is Associate Professor of the Department of Manufacturing Technologists at the Institute of Technologists.

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