Category Archives: Yami (Tao)

Episode 83: Farming

Using characteristics of nature to replace herbicides and fertilizers are the gift the Tao give back to its lands.
What is the scientific principle behind Tao’s traditional irrigation and fertilizing methods? What is the secret to turning soil into gold?


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 62: Underground House

Our stay in beautiful Lanyu continues. We check out another Tao artifact: the underground house. As the place faced with the most typhoons in the world, Lanyu is a harsh place for buildings. However, the wise ancestors of the Tao people passed down the secrets of the underground house. Based on the science of air pressure, these houses have saved lives for many generations.

Episode 60: Canoe

Little Science Hunters revisits Lanyu to understand how the design of the canoes makes it an efficient watercraft. Tao elders say the sharp bow in the water can divide waves and reduce resistance. The canoe’s side panels allow water to flow past the sides and prevent waves from splashing onto the fishermen. The bottom is made of heavy longan wood. The sharp design resembles a tumbler, the canoe would right itself when out at sea, so it couldn’t be overturned. There is also reserved buoyancy, so when the Tao people have a big haul, they could return home safely.

Episode 59: Making of the Canoe

Lanyu (Orchid Island) is home to the seafaring Tao people, famous for their elaborately designed canoes. But they’re not just for show. The structure of these canoes are based on scientific principles that maximize efficiency for the Tao fishermen. The making of the canoe requires 27 pieces of wooden boards, connected through step cuts and stabilized by wooden nails. Not every piece of the board has the same function, so different timber are used for the boards. The spine of the structure must be solid, so they use longan wood. The sides use timber from mango trees or persimmon tree. These two kinds of wood have lower density and floats better. They also expand when in contact with water, making the canoe more secure.
The kids use paper clay to make their own canoes to understand how friction increases hull strength.