“Astronomy literacy” implies not only knowledge and understanding of the Earth and its interaction with other celestial objects, but also an understanding of the scientific processes used to produce those concepts. Therefore, Astronomy, as part of the science education, can no longer be viewed as only an elite training for future scientists or engineers, but also as an essential knowledge of and about science able to prepare people to be actively engaged and become responsible, creative and innovative citizens and able to work collaboratively.
Astronomy has a strong motivational nature that promotes science literacy and may encourage students to pursue future careers in STEM. However, with few exceptions in Europe, Astronomy education is mainly rooted into secondary school curricula, less into primary school, while children at pre-school have usually little or no contact with Astronomy.
Aims & benefits
Promoting the acquisition of skills and competencies
Astronomy literacy encompasses a wide set of concepts and competencies. It implies not only knowledge and understanding of the Earth and its interaction with other celestial objects, but also an understanding of the scientific processes used to produce those concepts. This knowledge of and about science are essential to prepare people to be actively engaged and responsible citizens, creative and innovative, able to work collaboratively and fully aware of and conversant with the complex challenges facing society.
Thus, Astronomy literacy contributes to empower people and to prepare them to exercise their European citizenship in full, as well as to better prepare youngsters for the knowledge-based economy.
Open and innovative practices in a digital era
The project uses an innovative ICT based approach – an interactive eBook – for the learning of Astronomy concepts and competences of young children. The interactive eBook will be freely available online for anyone to use, and in 4 languages (English, French, Greek and Portuguese). Moreover, the fact that it is a digital resource makes it also easier to translate it into other languages in the future, widening its potential use even further.
The innovative character lies in a set of features, including:
- an interactive storyline in which readers actively participate in
- exercises and mini-games that deliver learning contents and help consolidate knowledge
- easy accessibility for children with mild learning difficulties and impairments
Strengthening the recruitment, selection and induction of Educators
The project also targets educators by developing a learning solution they can use and by specifically training them in the use of the new tools made available by the project. Within the Pilot Testing activity, the partnership will train a group of educators, contributing to develop their Astronomy literacy, as well as some ICT skills. The training programme for these educators has been made available, allowing replication in the future.
The SpaceGuardians project has developed an innovative pedagogy for improving Astronomy Literacy of children at pre-school education (3-6 years old) and for raising their interest over STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), based on an interactive learning eBook.
The interactive eBooks integrate an attractive dynamic storyboard supported by interactive features including mini-games, puzzles and other elements embedded in the story.
Along with the interactive storyboard, a Facilitator’s Guide has been developed for teachers and parents to help them make the most out of the learning opportunity and effectively facilitate children’s familiarisation with the relevant concepts.
The project implements the following tangible results:
- An innovative and user friendly tool that can be used in various settings for Astronomy education by teachers/trainers, STEM educators, schools and parents for raising interest over STEM;
- A training programme and a facilitator’s guide that will empower teachers/trainers, STEM educators, schools and parents to use the SpaceGuardians outputs to develop their own and their children’s literacy level in Astronomy;
- Familiarise kids with an interactive and engaging tool that enables learning by storytelling and by-doing of key Astronomy concepts;
- Validate the interactive tools and the curriculum by teachers and trainers through a series of pilot activities