Universe Awareness (UNAWE) is happy to announce a special celebration for its news service for children: today’s release, Extreme Make-over, is our 100th Space Scoop!
For the team behind Space Scoop, this offers a chance to reflect on all of the stories released. “I think my favourite is still The Universe has a Murky Past,” says Sarah Reed, former Science Editor of EU-UNAWE. “You can imagine my initial reaction when I was asked to write about the era of reionisation for children as young as 8 years old. But it is the difficulty of the subject matter that makes this one stand out for me. It's a rewarding science communication challenge to share cutting-edge astronomy news with children, no matter how complicated the topic is.”
Since Space Scoop first launched in February 2011 in collaboration with the European Southern Observatory, it has attracted many more partner organisations: the Netherlands Institute for Radio Astronomy (ASTRON), NASA's Chandra X-ray Observatory, Dutch Research School for Astronomy (NOVA), Europlanet, the Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) and the European Space Agency (ESA).
The growing Space Scoop family has increased the number of releases produced, but the team’s internal review process ensures that the quality never drops. “It is quite a challenge to produce a Space Scoop that is both fun and an educationally effective resource,” says Natalie Fischer, from EU-UNAWE Germany, who reviews the educational content of Space Scoop. “But every time I discuss a new Space Scoop with the children in my classroom and see their eyes growing wide with astonishment and wonder, I know we did it again!”
To mark the special anniversary, EU-UNAWE is releasing a classroom resource, called Space Scoop Storytelling, which uses the news stories as the basis for a creative writing and drawing activity. The activity also introduces children to science journalism, to broaden their horizons about potential careers in science.
Space Scoop also makes a great educational resource for use outside of the classroom, as Universe Awareness Romania has demonstrated. The team launched a Space Scoop exhibition earlier this week, called Space Scoop — What's New in the Universe?. The exhibition is being held at the Metropolitan Library of Bucharest until 9 November 2012.
UNAWE will also be releasing a Space Scoop book early next year. Furthermore, an article about the experiences learned from Space Scoop about writing for young children will be included in the next issue of Communicating Astronomy with the Public journal at the end of November.
Comments from the UNAWE community:
Amelia Ortiz-Gil, Spain
“We [at the Universitat de València] hold visits from schools, three times a week. Space Scoop allows us to share with these kids the recent discoveries in astronomy, to tell them that there are lots of things we still do not know and that they can be the next generation of discoverers.”
Mponda Malozo, Tanzania
“Some teachers and children have never been able to create a link between what they are taught in class and what they observe in the real world. Space Scoop creates a link between the two, in an easily understandable language.”
Avivah Yamani, Indonesia
“We publish Space Scoop in the Astronomi Magazine in Indonesia to introduce astronomy for children, and also as an article on our website. We also use several articles for storytelling and presentation in our public outreach events.”
Space Scoop is the first astronomy news service for children aged 8 and above produced by Universe Awareness programme. The idea behind Space Scoop is to change the way science is often perceived by young children as an outdated and dull subject. By sharing exciting new astronomical discoveries with them, we can inspire children to develop an interest in science and technology. Space Scoop makes a wonderful tool that can be used in the classroom to teach and discuss the latest astronomy news.