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Ikezasso(Ikebana with weeds)

School: Seisho Kaichi Junior High School

Grade(s): 7

Subject(s): Mathematics, Science and Technology

Project Overview

Country: Japan

 From April to early June in 2023, our school conducted a project-based learning (PBL) activity called the "Living Weeds Project" for the 1st-year junior high school students in two classes (53 students in total). During the science unit on "Characteristics and Classification of Plants," students used weeds to create Ikebana (Japanese floral arrangements) and compiled their works into a book. 

Ron Berger (2023) states that a robust project requires the following elements: 

  • Authentic research 
  • The power of art 
  • Modeling 
  • Multiple drafts 
  • Critique 
  • Presentation of the work 
  • Assessment 


 We will reorganize our recent practice according to these elements and explore the question, "At what moments does the distance between the subject and the students get closer?" 



Excerpt from Chapter 1:


"Living Weeds" is a book that compiles the efforts of Kobayashi, who collected and photographed local plants every day for a year starting in April 2016 and posted them on Instagram. According to the Educational Guidelines (2017), the objectives for first-year students in the field of biology include, "Actively engaging with and scientifically exploring matters and phenomena related to life and the Earth. Fostering an attitude of respecting life and contributing to the conservation of the natural environment, as well as being able to see nature in an integrated manner." Inspired by this book, I thought that "focusing on the small beauties in daily life could be the first step towards an attitude that contributes to the preservation of the natural environment." I conducted an activity where students would experience what Kobayashi is doing and articulate their thoughts in the process. 

At the start of the project, we appreciated Kobayashi works and conducted an online interview. During the interview, we discussed the changes that came from continuing to create "Living Weeds" for 365 days (e.g., even in places that initially looked like just green land, plants would pop into view once their names were known) as well as the particularities of creating the works (e.g., photos are taken in natural light without editing, and household items are used as containers). We also talked about the reasons for their favorite works. 


First, believing that students needed an opportunity to encounter authentic Ikebana, we reached out to Takunori Okazaki from the Ikenobo School of Ikebana. We arranged for him to give a lecture on the methods of expressing beauty in Ikebana, as well as technical advice for creating works...

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