Outreach program about water-related disasters
for fifth-grade students

130 students listen the lecture.
130 students listen the lecture.

On December 1, 2023, Chief Researcher KURIBAYASHI Daisuke visited Tsukuba City’s Takezono-nishi Elementary School and delivered a short lecture entitled “Efforts and Challenges to Reduce Water-related Disaster Damage around the World” for its 130 fifth-grade students. This outreach program took place in response to the request made by the elementary school. The fifth graders had been studying how flowing water affects the surrounding environment, and the school set up the event to provide an opportunity for them to learn more about water-related disasters around the world and various efforts to reduce the damage caused by them.

The lecture was about 40 minutes, consisting of four themes, including some fun quizzes: 1. Flowing water affects the environment; 2. Too much rain causes flooding; 3. The world works together to reduce flood damage; and 4. Everyone can help reduce flood damage.

In the first theme, the speaker reviewed what the students had learned about flowing water: eroding land and transporting and accumulating soil. In the second theme, he let the children watch movie clips about two past flood cases: the 2015 flood that caused significant damage near Tsukuba City and the 2021 flood that inundated the Zhengzhou subway in Hebei Province, China. They were amazed to see how violent water can be. In the third theme, the students learned about worldwide cooperation in flood damage reduction. They learned that international organizations, such as the United Nations, UNESCO, and the World Meteorological Organization, and domestic organizations, such as Japan’s government agencies, including ICHARM, have been working together in this effort. In the fourth theme, the speaker talked about what children can do to protect themselves from flooding. He advised them to check a flood hazard map and informed them of some other tools they can use for the purpose, such as “My Timeline (a tool to plan one’s action in time of flooding),” “River Disaster Prevention Information (a portal site about river disaster information),” and the “‘Run for life’ alert system (a push-type alert system to encourage early evacuation).”

After the lecture, the students answered a simple questionnaire. Of them, 68% found the lecture “Very interesting,” and 26% “Fairly interesting.” When asked about why they chose these answers (they were allowed to select multiple answers), 80% selected “The lecture was very informative,” and 67% “The lecture included video clips and quizzes.” Overall, their positive responses suggested that the lecture successfully provided the young students with a meaningful learning experience.

This event also provided ICHARM with an excellent outreach opportunity. It was grateful for the occasion and thanked the teachers of the Takezono-nishi Elementary School and the Tsukuba City Lifelong Learning Promotion Section for their cooperation in making it happen.