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Universe Awareness - Inspiring Young Children with the Beautiful Universe

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"Universe Awareness - Inspiring Young Children with the Beautiful Universe" …

"Universe Awareness - Inspiring Young Children with the Beautiful Universe"
C. Odman

Presented at: First Middle East-Africa, Regional IAU Meeting
Cairo, Egypt
Date: April 8, 2008

Published in: Education

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  • 1. Universe Awareness for Young Children Dr. C.J.Ödman, Prof. G. K.Miley Leiden Observatory The Netherlands contact: carolina.odman@unawe.org IAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/ What is Universe Awareness?• Expose very young (4 - 10 years), underprivileged children to inspirational aspects of astronomy• Broaden young formative minds• Awaken curiosity in science• Stimulate world citizenship IAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/
  • 2. UNAWE: Background2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 PREPARATION DEVELOPMENT IMPLEMENTATION EVALUATION • IYA Cornerstone Project with long-term vision • First International programme to target – very young children – underprivileged IAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/ Motivation • Beauty and size of the Universe excite young children • Basic knowledge about Universe is a birthright • Knowledge about the Universe broadens the mind • Ages 4 - 10 are crucial for child development • Most need for economically disadvantaged children IAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/
  • 3. Why astronomy for young children?• Astronomy is Science• Astronomy is Culture and Human Development• Astronomy is High-tech• Astronomy stimulates imagination• Astronomy is universal IAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/ Astronomy compels the soul to look upwards and leads us from this world to another. Plato IAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/
  • 4. Goals of UNAWE• Communicate the beauty and scale of the Universe to young children – Excite stimulate their curiosity – Help develop a “world view”• Use inspirational astronomy to develop cognitive skills• Reach large numbers of children• United Nations Millennium Development Goals – Universal Primary Education – Gender Equality in Primary School IAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/ Principles of UNAWE• Inspiration is paramount – Emphasis on play and entertainment• Bottom-up approach – Driven by the needs of the local cultures and educators• General approach – Earth awareness and citizenship, membership of a diverse human family• Awareness of our place in the Universe – Close environment: • The Earth, the Sun, The Planets etc. – Distant environment: • Solar system, galaxy, the Universe IAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/
  • 5. Ingredients of UNAWE• Materials – Children’s books, Cartoons, Posters developed by professionals – Activities, Hands-on materials developed, sourced and disseminated across the network – Translated into various languages• Training – Coordinators in each target country – Tailored to each country and community• International Network – Platform for outreach professionals and volunteers worldwide – Exchange of ideas, experience and materials IAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/ Characteristics of UNAWE • Underprivileged children in diverse environments • Modular and phased: Takes account of stages in child development • Adapted to local environments • Exploits ethnic and historic heritage of astronomy: Tangible and Intangible cultural heritage IAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/
  • 6. Various environments IAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/ Astronomy HeritageInner Mongolia, Baimiaozi, Egypt, Nabta Japan, Kanayama 4000 BC 4300 BC ~ 3000 - 4000 BC National Astronomical Observatory in Iraq 20th Century...Mexico, Chichen Itza, China, Gaocheng, ~ 1100 AD 1279 AD IAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/
  • 7. Astronomy Heritage IAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/ Astronomy Heritage European Southern Observatory 1998Hubble Space Telescope 2004 IAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/
  • 8. Some methods employed in UNAWE• Direct observations – Familiarisation• Hands-on activities – Appropriation• Playing and singing stories and myths – Experience• Twinning activities, interactive software – Exchange and real-life experience• Large input from local cultures IAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/ Local/Regional/National Coordination• Local Coordinators – Central contact point – Bottom-up approach: Stimulate ownership• Role – Supervise programme in specific region – Maintain contact with schools and teachers – Take part in the development and the evaluation of UNAWE• Practical Aspects: Approach differs for each region IAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/
  • 9. Active UNAWE groups Indonesia, India, Kenya, South Africa, Tunisia, Germany, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Belgium, United Kingdom, Ireland, Bermuda, Venezuela, Colombia, Chile Serbia Turkey Lesotho Egypt?IAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/ UNAWE in GermanyIAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/
  • 10. UNAWE in ColombiaIAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/ UNAWE in IndiaIAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/
  • 11. UNAWE in Venezuela VIDEO!IAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/ UNAWE in Kenya VIDEO!IAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/
  • 12. UNAWE in TunisiaSee posterTalk to Amine Abdellatif who is here today VIDEO! IAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/ UNAWE Internationally• Internet exchanges - Skypecasts – Lunar Eclipse 2007: • South Africa - Germany + 10 countries – Lunar Eclipse 2008: • Bilingual • Bermuda - South Africa - South & North America• Single events between classrooms – Languages – Times, seasons, internationalise national events – Accents, Habits, Friends, etc. IAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/
  • 13. UNAWE Internationally IAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/ UNAWE‘s contribution to Astronomy development• Astronomy transcending disciplines• Prepare children for science later in education• Awareness raising, scientific culture influencing decision makers• Human context• Human heritage & internationalism (attitudes & opportunities)• Feeling of being astronomers• Contact between astronomers and the public• Spaceship Earth our Home in the Universe IAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/
  • 14. UNAWE‘s contribution to Astronomy development UNAWE is a community• Growing pool of enthusiasts• Contributing educational materials• Spreading awareness and enthusiasm for astronomy• Sharing expertise in education and child development• Interfacing with education systems, amateur astronomers, science museums, other outreach programmes• Mobilising volunteers• Support for astronomy• Learn by doing astronomy IAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/ UNAWE in brief• International• Spreading interest for astronomy and science where it has the biggest impact: very young children• Gives astronomy a good image: – A very human science – Connection to roots in earliest civilisations – Contribution to social good – Mobilisation of people IAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/
  • 15. How to make it happen? Essentially any astronomy outreach activity that • Targets 4-10 year olds • Is inspirational rather than strictly educational • Reaches out to the underprivileged • Acknowledges and includes cultural & folkloric astronomy is a UNAWE activity> Background information> UNAWE Handbook IAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/ Conclusion • Importance of appreciation of science and awareness of our environment by the next generation • Astronomy - ambassador of human achievement easily accessible, fun and entertaining for young children • UNAWE helps form – Broad, curious, inquisitive and inspired minds – Aware of others and appreciating cultural diversity – Aware of our place in the Universe IAU - 1st MEARIM, meeting 08 April 2008 http://www.unawe.org/ carolina.odman@unawe.org

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