On August 21 Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, Ltd. (MHI) held the "28th MHI Summer School" at the Kobe Shipyard & Machinery Works, an annual event timed to coincide with the summer holidays from school. This year approximately 120 elementary school students in grades 4 through 6 and their guardians took part.
The program began with a science class taught by Shigeru Inaba of the NPO Kodomo Uchu Mirai Association. He explained how heavy rockets manage to fly and why satellites stay in orbit without falling to earth. The students then made rockets from the long plastic bags commonly used in Japan to hold wet umbrellas when not in use, and they experimented again and again to see how far they would fly. One child who participated said he was amazed to learn how many different technologies went into making a rocket fly. Another said making and experimenting with a rocket was a lot of fun.
Next, the students were taken on a tour of the factory. Here, they got a close-up look at the giant shield machine used to dig tunnels and a centrifugal chiller. The children squealed at seeing machines of such enormous size and power, and they asked a large number of questions. Seeing firsthand where such things are made seemed to arouse their interest in "monozukuri"-the traditional Japanese concept of craftsmanship.
Going forward, MHI Group will continue to convey the fun of science (and science classes!) to children through monozukuri classes and factory visits, as part of our CSR activities to support development of the next generation and contribute to our local communities.