Last month, the UNAWE team headed for Portugal to participate in the Astronomy Education Alliance Meeting (AEAM), which took place from Monday 8 to Friday 12 September at the Centro de Congressos do Estoril, in the city of Cascais, and ran in parallel with the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC).
The gathering was opened officially by the chair of EPSC 2014; Professor Manuel Grande of Aberystwyth University, UK. Distinguished mayor of Cascais, Carlos Carreiras, addressed the participants in his welcome speech highlighting the importance of hosting such an event and added “it is said that in order to care, we need to know. We trust in you to share with us all the knowledge of the fabulous world that exists beyond our planetary limits.”
The AEAM meeting gathered more than 100 participants from 27 countries. Much of the presentations focused on best practices in astronomy education at different levels of age groups and backgrounds. There was also a clear indication of the need to shape the standards of astronomy education, which was highlighted in Leiden University’s astronomer Pedro Russo’s talk on “Astronomy Education 2020: A 5-year Vision”. During the astroEDU workshop organised by Universe Awareness, focus groups worked on creating activities in astroEDU format; peer-reviewed open access content using enquiry-based learning methods.
Leiden Observatory's Erik Arends gave a talk about his research on astronomy literacy goals. He is putting together a list of goals that the public ideally should have achieved in the symbolic year 2061, when Halley's comet has its next close encounter with Earth. The list sets a definition for astronomy literacy and provides a framework for astronomy educators and teachers worldwide.
The UNAWE team headquarters during the week was , a Portuguese Social Enterprise that supports disadvantaged children and their families.
Videos of the presentations along with abstracts will be available at the end of October 2014.
The Universe Awareness team participated actively in the meeting. Below are the team’s presentations.
- Thilina Heenatigala (GTTP/UNAWE/IAU-OAD) and the UNAWE Team