Category Archives: chemistry

Episode 80: Hunter’s Lunch

The early indigenous peoples of Taiwan, whether they depended on the mountains or the sea, used their unique environment for food. This is why each tribes developed their own food culture.
Indigenous hunters’s lunch mainly consisted of sweet potatoes. However, due to the differences in environment, each tribe developed its own kind of lunch for the hunters. Bamboo tube rice is one of the portable food for the Tsou.
Finding the right bamboo and how to fill it with rice require a lot of wisdom.


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Episode 78: Glazed Beads

The glazed beads of Paiwan are not only beautiful, but they are full of mysterious ancient legends. How are glazed beads made? What is the best way to heat them? How does the color get there? And what wisdom of the elders are in the making process.


Episode 70: Preservation with Wood Ash

Before there were refrigerators, indigenous peoples would smoke meat to preserve it. However, there is another way to preserve food. This episode’s indigenous expert uses wood ash to seal bottles. Using water, wood ash can be hardened to prevent molds and repel bugs. Sometimes they would use smoke to get rid of bugs in the house. It works the same way for food! This kind of natural preservative is even better and healthier than modern artificial preservatives! By absorbing the moisture in the air, wood ash can stave off the black beans’ expiration date.


Episode 66: Sumac

Located in Taiwan’s Nantou County Renai Towship, there is a very special tree called the Sumac. One hundred years ago, when mountain indigenous people were unable to acquire salt for their diet, the Sumac solved this problem. Indigenous people used this tree to get a balanced diet. What kind of plant is this amazing tree?


Episode 65: Underground House Drainage System

In this episode, we delve into the traditional architectural design and construction of the underground house’s drainage system. To understand the scientific principle behind it, the science teacher leads kids to pick rocks and build a drainage system of their own. Also, using bottles and absorbent powders, the kids learn why the Tao people must smoke flying fish in their own homes.


Episode 58: Pottery

Pottery making is a part of the lives of early Amis women. When making pottery, they must first collect earth. After removing the impurities, they must be wedged. The Amis use pieces of bamboo to beat the clay into shape. Once it is dried, then the first step is finished. Amis villages commonly use the wild firing method. Materials used for burning are natural, such as grass, rice husk, etc. During firing, the control of temperature and humidity is very important. Also, due to the carbon within the charcoal, some pottery may have black spots. Only after more than 10 days of drying and firing is the work finished.


Episode 57: Flint

The flint is a necessity for the early Amis when they go into the wild. The expert of this episode picks stones off the ground and produces sparks. To understand the scientific principles of a flint, the science teacher helps kids understand the characteristics of a quartz. By understanding the structure of a quartz crystal as well as how electrons are released, the kids know that when a quartz is beaten against iron, high temperature is released instantaneously, releasing electrons and sparks.


Episode 50: Preserved Meat

The Atayal have a very special food called “tmmyan” (preserved meat), which is created through many chemical reactions. The process uses uncooked millet and meat. While in the contain, they would ferment. The preserved meat would contain a sour taste that is loved by the Atayal people. Through experiments, kids find out that starch would ferment in a confined space because there are many different types of fungi in the air.

Episode 40: Fire-Making

In this episode, we visited a Tsou tribe of Danayiku in beautiful Alishan.
We talked to village experts on how the indigenous people made fire in the old days. Through our experiments, we explored the mystery of friction, and learned about the three conditions needed to make a fire.