Universe Awareness: Stimulating Young Children with the Beautiful Universe

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"Universe Awareness: Stimulating Young Children with the Beautiful Universe"
C. Odman

Presented at:
Second Advanced International Colloquium on Building the Scientific Mind 2007

Vancouver, Canada
May 2007

Published in: Education, Technology
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Universe Awareness: Stimulating Young Children with the Beautiful Universe

  1. 1. Universe Awareness UNAWE Carolina Ödman Building the Scientific Mind carolina.odman@unawe.org Vancouver, Canada http://www.unawe.org/ May 29, 2007 UNAWE Philosophy• Initiative for a worldwide scientific culture.• Expose very young (ages 4 - 10 years), underprivileged children to the inspirational aspects of astronomy. – Broaden their perspective – Enhance their understanding of the world – Demonstrate the power of self-determined thought• By broadening children’s minds, UNAWE hopes to stimulate tolerance and internationalism 1
  2. 2. Motivation• Beauty and size of the Universe excite young children• Basic knowledge of the Universe is a Birthright• Ages 4 - 10 are crucial for child development• Knowledge about the Universe can broaden the mind• Why young and underprivileged children? – Need is greatest – Cognitive disparities increase with age – Cultural differences less pronounced Astronomy for Peace Education• Science • Multidisciplinary – Investigation, curiosity – The big questions – Ambassador for all sciences • FUN! – Development of – Beautiful images technology – Extreme conditions• Culture – Unreachable yet – History available to all past & in the making! – Cultural heritage 2
  3. 3. Astronomy as Science• Curiosity and sense of adventure• Rational explanations• Astronomy is multidisciplinary – physics, chemistry, maths, computer science, biology• Super-history• Challenging – Light from different times – Coherent movement across the sky• Development of technology – Opportunities Astronomy as Culture• Humankind’s scientific and cultural heritage – Tool for positioning, navigation, timing (seasons) – Clock and calendar – Myths and legends • Serving educational purpose • Entertainment too! – Culture and emotional link to the sky, Ownership • Rational only leaves room for emotional catches such as dogma and superstition • Use FOLKLORE • e.g. Immigrant communities 3
  4. 4. Astronomy as ambassador for diversity• Cultural awareness - identity and tolerance through folklore – Exotic diversity (animal constellations: zoological diversity)• Appreciation of diversity in building a value system Astronomy as heritage• Astronomy a household name, part of the landscape• “Training” as dialogue and enactment of the evolution of human understanding• Delivery through communities: ownership enabling discussion of fears and dogmatic beliefs• Debate among adults illustrates relativity of knowledge 4
  5. 5. Astronomy as Common Social Ground• Bottom-up approach values people’s contribution – Better respect – Better self-esteem For both the individuals and the communities – Reproduced later in life Conclusions• Astronomy more than rich and fun science, also emotional link to the sky• History and culture (diverse human family)• Multidisciplinary (environment, etc.)• Tool for a culture of peace – In its subject matter but also in the delivery in an astronomy programme• That’s what UNAWE hopes to achieve 5

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