Classroom by the Sea: On-Site Science Education Provided by the NCKU USR Project
成大USR濱海小學堂 科學傳播在地實踐
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          As part of the NCKU University Social Responsibility (USR) Project, an environment education booth was set up at Liukong Wharf in Cigu District, Tainan, on July 13 and 14 under the invitation of the District Chief, Ping-Ping Hsu, and with the assistance of the Chief of the Agriculture and Development Division, Kuo-An Huang. The booth was managed by members of the project’s IMPACT team, postdoctoral fellow Shing-Ru Yang, and research assistants Min-Chi Wen, I-ting Wu, Shuk-Yin Li, Chi-chia Tsao, Yu-fen Chen, Jui Ming, and Hideaki Ikemoto. In the spirit of science education, the booth promoted the key aspects of the NCKU USR Project, including oyster farming, climate change, and improvement of asparagus quality by planting it in a greenhouse. Similar to the arrangement last year, the booth passed on detailed knowledge through interactive games, educating visitors of the phenomena and causal relationships behind environmental change.

          For example, one of the games involved the life cycle of the milkfish and flathead grey mullet. These are the primary economic species farmed in Cigu. The milkfish is highly vulnerable to cold, whereas the flathead grey mullet is vulnerable to heat. Therefore, because of ongoing environmental change, both a severe cold front and a warm winter can damage the local fish farming industry. Through the game, visitors learned the economic value of these species and their preferred environmental conditions. Additionally, through the referral of coFishland, an organization that promotes fishery education, a farmer of flathead grey mullet, Chuang-Hui Chiu, was invited to share his experience at the booth, particularly the details of fish farming and challenges he encounters, which gave people insight and firsthand knowledge. His vivid description piqued the people’s interest, and many questions were asked. Because the roe of flathead grey mullet is a common delicacy in Taiwan but people rarely have the opportunity to see a flathead grey mullet in the flesh, the game delivered a profound experience.

          Two major aspects of the NCKU USR Project, namely the improvement of oyster farming techniques and net-house farming of asparagus, were explained in the form of a collage game and tabletop game, respectively. The collage game about oyster farming first informed the player of the various types of oyster rack developed according to local marine geographical features and industrial needs (horizontal hanging, vertical hanging, and floating raft); the player then had to attach the sticker of the rack type appropriate to various regions on a map of Tainan. Examples of all rack types were present around the site, enabling visitors to readily compare them. Numerous visitors, particularly parents with children, asked about the possible environmental risks posed by floating rafts, which is indicative of the growing awareness among the public of problems associated with aquaculture and the environment.


          The tabletop game about asparagus farming was designed by Yi-Wei Hsu, a student who attended the Outdoor Physical Environment Quantitative Assessment course of Professor Tzu-Ping Lin at the Department of Architecture. Hsu integrated the net-house temperature regulation strategy that is taught in the course into the gameplay and designed an impact–adaptation game that enables the player to learn of the available temperature regulation methods that can be used when the environmental temperature is high. This game is suitable for all ages, which made it the most popular game in the booth. Many visitors inquired whether there were plans to publish the game.

          The Classroom by the Sea is an initiative that combines NCKU’s spirit of academic research and science education with community-based activities. The university integrates the latest developments in environmental science into the design of interactive teaching aids, enabling people to acquire knowledge easily and in a relaxed environment. Through this strategy, environmental knowledge and scientific spirit cease to be unapproachable domains; they become something that people can easily relate to in daily life.

          This project is a part of a University USR project sponsored by the Ministry of Education, titled the 2019 Implementation Plan Adapted to Environmental Change in Tainan Coastal Area (IMPACT). It is jointly led by Distinguished Professor Tzu-Ping Lin of the Department of Architecture, Associate Professor Yi Chang of the Institute of Ocean Technology and marine Affairs, Deputy Director Wen-Son Chiang and Professor Shih-Chun Hsiao of the Tainan Hydraulics Laboratory, Associate Professor Chia-Hua Chang of the Department of Environmental Engineering, Associate Professor Cheng-Luen Hsueh of the Department of Architecture, and Assistant Professor Tai-Lin Huang of the Department of Urban Planning. The team is assisted by Professor Jiann-Yeou Rau of the Department of Geomatics, who is in charge of aerial photography and three-dimensional modelling of the shoreline and coastal communities. The objective of IMPACT is to investigate the effects of environmental change on the coastal zone of Tainan; raise awareness of concerns regarding the local environment and social problems among young students; lead students to join forces with coastal communities in the adaptation to climate change; implement the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations; and fulfill the university’s social responsibilities. For more information, please visit https://usrncku.weebly.com/