Laboratory Classes on the Wonders of Chemistry

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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 2019.

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. Accepting a suggestion from an external expert, we created a leaflet that children could take home to read and learn more about chemistry. In fiscal 2020, we plan to ask participants to complete a questionnaire after the class to help improve the contents of experiments to 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.

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.

Longmiao Hope Primary School in China
Longmiao Hope Primary School in China

Participating in a Summer Holidays Science Show for Children

On August 3 and 4, 2019, we participated and presented shows in Dream Chemistry 21– Summer Holidays Science Show for Children*, held in the Science Museum in Tokyo. At our booth, we demonstrated an experiment using a film made from our product, ABSORTOMER™. Some 240 primary school children learned about the features of this plastic and were amazed to see how the film expanded or shrank when it was soaked in hot or cold water.

*Dream Chemistry 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 Chemistry 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.

Participating in a Summer Holidays Science Show for Children

Laboratory Classes on the Wonders of Chemistry Experiments

*Experiment titles are subject to change.

Experiment title Description
Foamy urethane experiment

FieldChemical reactions

Related Group productsIsocyanate, Polyol

Participants watch urethane, the uses of which include cushion materials, pillows and refrigerator insulation, being foamed and experience reaction heat and differences in hardness
Slime
- Making your own slime
- Making jumbo slime together
- Shiny slime
- Slime ball

FieldPolymer 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

FieldLight

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

FieldAdsorption and separation

Participants learn that the ink in a water-based pen contains a mixture of various different colors (pigments)
Plastic board

FieldPolymer properties

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!

FieldBuoyancy

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

FieldAcids 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

FieldPolymer properties

Related Group productsNonwoven 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

FieldSpecific 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!

FieldHeat of solution

Related Group productsUrea

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!

FieldReaction 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!

FieldAcids and alkalis, Oxidation / reduction

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!

FieldRecycling / Making paper

Related Group productsAcrylamide

Using everyday implements, participants experience paper recycling from old paper and learn about papermaking and recycling
Let's make small objects from melted plastic!

FieldPolymer properties

Related Group products 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!

FieldPolymer properties

Related Group productsFilms, 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!

FieldHydrodynamics

Participants learn about air resistance, by observing air rings emitted from an air cannon
Let's make snow on pine cones!

FieldCrystals

Related Group productsUrea

Participants learn about crystal deposition, by observing dissolved urea being sprayed onto pinecones and drying
Let's make light like a firefly!

FieldEnzymes

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!

FieldPolymer properties

Related Group productsTAFNEL™

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!

FieldPolymer properties

Related Group productsABSORTOMER™

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
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