寄付・募金・ボランティアのセーブ・ザ・チルドレン・ジャパン

Great East Japan earthquake and tsunami Emergency response and recovery program

Handmade Battery Experiment Workshop: Sony Science Program at Ishikoshi Elementary School (July 26, 2013)

On July 4, 2013, as a part of RESTART JAPAN, a cooperative project by Save the Children and Sony Corporation, the Sony Science Program (Japanese) was organized at Ishikoshi Elementary School of Tome City. In this program, the Handmade Battery Experiment Workshop was held for 43 fifth graders and 37 parents of these students.

In 2012, we organized various workshops at five elementary and junior/senior high schools in Miyagi Prefecture. However this year, aiming to have our activities more deeply rooted in each community, we have been promoting these activities mainly with people from Sony’s local offices: Sony Sendai Technology Center, Shiroishi-Zao Technology Center of Sony Semiconductor Corporation and Sony Storage Media and Devices Corporation.

It was a request from parents who had learned about the Sony Science Program through TV commercials that made this workshop possible at Ishikoshi Elementary School, which was offered as a cooperative lesson with the Parents and Teachers Association (PTA). Now, let us share with you how we enjoyed the day!

 
■ What types of batteries are used around us?

First, the lecturer Ms. Otsuki asked the children some questions about what types of batteries are used around us and how they are used. Children responded with various ideas: “We have alkaline batteries!” “Batteries are used in remote controls!” and, “Maybe cellular phones?”

At the end, we learned that there are as many as 4,000 different kinds of batteries if we finely categorize them by size or type, which was a big surprise for both the children and their parents!

 
■ Let’s learn about the structure of batteries!

Then, to learn about the structure of batteries, we had an experiment to generate electricity using a tin. In a tin, there were only a copper plate, water and salt. Looking into the tin, children wondered if these could really be enough to create a battery?

On their own table, children prepared a tin, a copper plate, water and salt for their experiment. They put water and salt into a plastic bottle, and shook it until the salt dissolved well into the water. Then, they put the salt water into a tin together with a copper plate, and checked it with an electricity meter to confirm that electricity was generated in all groups.

The teacher explained to the children, “As you see, we can create a battery using a tin and salt, but the water can spread out and it is inconvenient to carry. This is why dry cells were invented.” After getting familiar with the structure of batteries, children started to create their own dry cells!

 
■ Let’s create manganese batteries!

In a zinc tube, you soak a piece of paper in water, and then add black powder of manganese dioxide. As the powder of manganese dioxide will stain black if it spills over your hands or elsewhere, the participating children went through the procedure slowly and carefully, receiving some support from their parents. This manganese dioxide plays the role of salt water in the tin battery example.

After succeeding to put manganese dioxide into the tube, you cover it with a cap that has a hole in the middle. Then, you put a carbon rod through the hole, and pound it in carefully with a hammer, leaving the tip of the rod exposed by about by 3mm so that the rod is not completely buried in the tube. Next, you put a cap over the top and firmly hammer it in place to complete your battery! Now you draw or write something on labels as you like and then decorate the battery with them. Next, you place an insulating ring on the top, and coat it with a material that contracts when heated. Finally, you heat it using a hair dryer and your own original dry cell has been completed!
 
■ Award of a certificate

Using a miniature lamp, children confirmed that their dry cells were producing electricity and working properly.
At the end of the workshop, the teacher handed a “Certificate for the Handmade Battery Experiment Workshop” to each of the children. Holding their original dry cell firmly in their hand the children looked so proud, and gave big smiles in front of their parents.

The RESTART JAPAN will continue to provide children with opportunities to enjoy science.