Culture/Education

Visiting Science Lab Program

Visiting science lab at Tokyo University of the Arts
Visiting science lab at Tokyo University of the Arts

DIC's 2015 Education Support Grand Prix cerfificate
DIC's 2015 Education Support Grand Prix cerfificate

In line with the Japanese government’s efforts to promote career education initiatives, as well as to help curb a decline in the popularity of science among children, DIC and DIC Graphics conduct visiting science labs at public elementary schools. Through this program, which focuses on, among others, experiments in pigment synthesis and offset printing, the Group seeks to spark children’s interest in science and encourage them to realize the close relationship between science and their everyday lives.
In fiscal year 2015, the DIC Group’s visiting science lab program was nominated and won silver in the category of initiatives chosen by elementary school students in the 2015 Education Support Grand Prix (formerly the CSR Initiative Award in Education), sponsored by Tokyo-based Leave a Nest Co., Ltd. At the request of Tokyo University of the Arts and Aichi University of the Arts, the Group also held labs for undergraduate and graduate students at both universities.

COMMENT

Collaboration between industry and academia is crucial to fostering human resources and advancing technology.

When I heard that DIC conducted visiting science labs at elementary schools on themes related to pigments, I asked the Company whether they would consider modifying lab content to make it suitable for students studying fne arts and conducting visiting labs at Tokyo University of the Arts and Aichi University of the Arts. A knowledge of materials is important to the future of these students, so the purpose of the lab was to promote understanding of the fact that most of the pigments used in modern-day paints are created using the power of science. For students, a visiting science lab conducted by people from a major corporation is a valuable opportunity to obtain a variety of information from a different perspective than that of their usual classes. I am a frm believer that collaboration between industry and academia is crucial to fostering human resources and advancing technology.

Associate Professor, Tokyo University of the Arts  Takayuki Akimoto

Associate Professor,
Tokyo University of the Arts
Takayuki Akimoto

COMMENT

The visiting science labs at our school emphasize the role of science in children’s lives.

Our school has enjoyed hosting visiting science labs conducted by DIC and DIC Graphics since 2011. When we evaluate offers by corporations to organize educational programs for us, we have thee criteria: Is the proposed program safe? Does it align with the relevant curriculum unit? Is the school’s burden for preparation minimal? The DIC and DIC Graphics program ticks all three boxes for us. The focus is on showing children that studying science is useful in everyday life and the children are always delighted by the departure from their ordinary classwork. Each employee instructor works directly with three or four students, which I particularly appreciate as it gives children a chance to speak to the instructor directly and ask questions about the career of a scientist. I am a frm believer that initiatives such as this, which involve companies with deep local roots partnering with schools, play a vital role in community development.

Vice-Principal, Itabashi Municipal No. 2 Elementary Schoo Kaoruko Tanaka

Vice-Principal, Itabashi Municipal No. 2 Elementary Schoo
Kaoruko Tanaka

DIC Lifetec organizes food culture event

Food culture event
Food culture event

Event participants
Event participants

Hands-on experiment
Hands-on experiment

Spirulina viewed through a microscope
Spirulina viewed through a microscope

In July 2014, subsidiary DIC Lifetec Co., Ltd., in collaboration with Tokyo’s Itabashi Education + Science Museum, staged a food culture event on the theme of Spirulina, a health supplement and the source of a natural food coloring used in confectionery, titled “Exploring the mystery of how food gets its color.” Children tend to find study themes related to food highly appealing. By choosing the color of food as the theme of this event, organizers sought to increase interest in food-related research and to encourage children to discover the story of Spirulina and its use in food on their own. A hardy, edible blue-green algae that appears as a mass of spirals, Spirulina is said to have originated around three million years ago. As well, Spirulina is rich with more than 50 vitamins, minerals and other nutrients, properties that have earned it a reputation as a superfood. DIC is a leading global supplier of this algae and the first in the world to succeed in the managed cultivation of uniformly high-grade Spirulina using safe, hygienic facilities.

The event in Itabashi featured a presentation by a senior certified nutritionist, who spoke about the significant role color plays in our perception of food’s taste and demonstrated differences in the reaction of taste buds to natural and to synthetic food colorings. The nutritionist also oversaw a hands-on experiment involving the extraction of natural colorants from peppers and purple sweet potatoes, as well as from Spirulina, and gave a talk on Spirulina’s history.

Participants appeared fascinated by Spirulina’s structure and were surprised to learn that Linablue®, DIC’s Spirulina-derived natural blue food coloring, was used in many familiar sweets and candies. Comments received from participants were varied and generally positive. A number of children said that having learned about Spirulina’s nutritional benefits, they would make a point of choosing food products containing Spirulina. Others remarked that they had found the experiment portion of the event fun and learned a lot about Spirulina and that they planned to further study food colors, including that of Spirulina, at home.

Initiatives Led by the Central Research Laboratories

Lab lesson for Chiba Prefectural Sakura High School students at the Central Research Laboratories
Lab lesson for Chiba Prefectural Sakura High School students at the Central Research Laboratories

Lab lesson for Seishin Gakuen High School students at the Central Research Laboratories
Lab lesson for Seishin Gakuen High School students at the Central Research Laboratories

The Central Research Laboratories offers a variety of programs in such uniquely DIC topics as synthesis and chromatics to the students of local schools. In September and December 2015, respectively, students from Chiba Prefectural Sakura High School and Seishin Gakuen High School in Ibaraki Prefecture, both of which have earned the designation Super Science High School*, were invited to the Central Research Laboratories to participate in a lab lesson on the theme of “synthesis and craftsmanship.” Led by researchers from the facility, the event—which took place in a research laboratory—included an introduction to research conducted using state-of-the-art analytical equipment, a hands-on lesson on the use of said analytical equipment, a lab in which students experimented with synthesizing organic pigments and a lecture on DIC products, and was designed to help students better understand the concept of craftsmanship as it pertains to science. Lecturers also incorporated a career education component into the event, taking time to talk to interested students about the challenges and rewards of being a researcher.

  • *Super Science High School is a designation awarded by Japan’s Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT) to senior high schools that implement curricula focused on the sciences and mathematics that goes beyond the Ministry’s official guidelines with the aim of fostering the next generation of talented engineers and scientists.

Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art

Nature trail traversing the museum site
Nature trail traversing the museum site

The Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art, located adjacent to the Central Research Laboratories in Sakura, Chiba Prefecture, was established in 1990 to publicly exhibit works of art collected by DIC Corporation and its affiliates. In 2016, the museum celebrated its 27th anniversary. The museum exhibits works from a collection that spans numerous genres, with a focus on 20th century American art, and encompasses works by Rembrandt; Impressionists such as Monet and Renoir; modern European artists such as Picasso and Chagall; and early modern, modern and postwar Japanese artists. Two exhibitions are scheduled for 2016: photographs taken by Cy Twombly, one of the most acclaimed artists of the 20th century, and works by celebrated painter and printmaker Léonard Foujita.
In addition to its standing exhibit from its permanent collection of more than 1,000 major works, the museum stages special exhibitions several times a year that focus on pertinent literary works and other artifacts that evoke the cultural atmosphere at the time works were created to help visitors better understand the collection. Another appealing aspect of the Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art is its location on a lushly forested 10-hectare site alive with seasonal fowers and foliage that has been open to the public since the museum’s establishment. In cooperation with the Chiba Biodiversity Center, the museum has also established a biodiversity satellite, a special display area featuring display panels explaining the importance of biodiversity, in one of the site’s rest cabins.
In a move aimed at promoting relations with the local community and fostering local cultural activities, the museum has established an annex gallery on the museum site. This facility, which serves as an exhibition space for local amateur artists, is also made available once a year to elementary and junior and senior high schools in the Sakura area for an exhibition of local students’ works. The Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art also accepts local junior high school students for work experience programs and welcomes elementary and junior high school art classes, led by teachers, for museum tours, with the goal of further supporting art education.

Kawamura Memorial DIC Museum of Art

Career Education Activities

In recent years, the educational field is strongly required to participate in corporate career education activities. DIC focuses on career education in a wide scope, including accepting interns from colleges of technology in plants throughout Japan, accepting workplace experience, practical training, and tours from nearby schools in the Chiba Plant, Hokuriku Plant, Kashima Plant, Komaki Plant, and Saitama Plant, etc. providing lab lessons in municipal elementary schools in the Itabashi Ward and Matsudo by Tokyo plant and headquarters, providing educational support classes to Chiba Prefectural Sakura High School and Sakurahigashi High School close to the DIC Central Research Laboratory, and visits by Chairman Sugie throughout Japan to give classes as part of Japan Association of Corporate Executives activities, etc. Children learn the significance of working and the fact that their studies lead to social lives by learning various ways of living and a sense of values by communicating with many different adults. DIC will continue to provide career education opportunities to children who will lead the future.

COMMENT

Promoting career education that arouses intellectual curiosity and inquisitive minds

The DIC Central Research Laboratory has raised educational support in the CSR policy and has also been supporting “Sakura Academia,” which is a cultural class that started in 2011 in our school. In this class, students visit laboratories to hear lectures by leading researchers with the aim of not only arousing students’ intellectual curiosity and inquisitive minds but also encouraging them to strive to realize themselves and have career awareness. In 2013, our school was specified as a super science school (SSH) by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology with the aim of developing human resources in the scientific technology field. Upon this, DIC dispatched an operational mentor as a representative of a local company. We are always deeply appreciative of DIC’s stance to proactively contribute to the local educational industry through the scientific technology field.

Chiba Prefectural Sakura High School Vice-Principal Mr. Kazuomi Koshiba

Chiba Prefectural Sakura High School
Vice-Principal
Mr. Kazuomi Koshiba

Proactively Supporting the Next Generation Development from Working Experience for Junior High School Students to Training Cooperation for Teachers

Local Junior High School Students Experiencing Work
Local Junior High School Students Experiencing Work

Each plant in the DIC Group holds opportunities that enable young people who will lead the next generation to experience working in order to acquire career or working views and proactively hosts internship students, etc. “Saitama Plant”(Ina City, Saitama) that manufactures UV paint, LC materials, and adhesive films, etc. cooperates with the “Social Experience Challenge”, which is planned by the board of education, and continually holds working experience opportunities for 7th and 8th grade students. In 2011, the plant held 4 opportunities and 12 junior high school students participated from the community. They commuted to the Saitama Plant for 3 days at a time and experienced light work, such as inspections of products, packaging, etc. They presented what they learned through work and exchanges with employees at school.

These efforts are also promoted in Chiba Plant and Komaki Plant (Aichi) and are highly regarded by the local communities.

VOICE from the DIC Group

Backup is Provided through Cooperation of Each Department with the Focus on Safety

Saitama Plant has been hosting working experience opportunities since approximately 10 years ago. First, we communicate safety cautions to children, and each department decides the work contents in cooperation with each other. Seeing papers with honest opinions, such as “I’ve learned the difficulty of the society” and “I’ve experienced the importance of people’s considerations as well as organization”, etc. after the experience and hearing voices of different departments, such as “Thanks to them, we’ve made a good progress in work”, etc., make us happy. In 2011, teachers also cooperated with the training to learn local industries and accepted plant tours. I think it is very beneficial for others to learn the technologies and manufacturing of DIC through such opportunities.

Saitama Plant General Affairs Group Chiharu Nakanishi

Saitama Plant
General Affairs Group
Chiharu Nakanishi

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