The Department of Education and Universities (CEU) of the Government of the Canaries, and the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC), Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence, are starting again with joint activities for promoting astronomy, based on the natural resource of the Canary skies, and coinciding with the 30th anniversary of the pioneering “Law of the Sky”.
One of the three best skies in the world for astronomical observation is that of the Canaries, and these natural conditions are protected and conserved thanks to the Law of the Canary Sky, which is 30 years old in 2018. The CEU, via the STEAM división for promoting vocations in science and creativity of the General Direction for Organization, Innovation, and Promotion of Education, and the IAC, via its Unit of Communication and Science Culture (UC3), are collaborating in a set of training activities for Canary teachers, which will be set in action in the coming weeks. The aim of these activities is to spread knowledge about the quality and the astronomical possibilities of our scky among the school students in the Islands, and in the educational community in general, while at the same time encouraging scientific and technological vocations in this field.
The training courses offered in the collaborative framework deal with different aspects of astronomy using a variety of tools and educational projects which will be made avialable to the Canary educational community. In this way a variety of initiatives can be offered which can be developed at all levels of pre-university education, from infants to A levels, as well as in professional training. The inscription for these activities should be via the web de la Consejería de Educación and will remain open until all the available places are filled.
One programme supported firmly by the STEAM división of the CEU is the itinerary of training for teachers, which will include training in the use of solar and night-time telescopes (making quipment for educational use available to schools which can be requested by those techers who have been trained), night-time astronomical photography, the use of robotic telescopes, as well as lectures and practical outings for the students, their families, and teachers. The itinerary, which is carried out thanks to the close and active collaboration of the IAC, also includes a course on “Introduction to Astronomy” aimed mainly at teachers who want an initial conact with this science, and is directly linked with astronomical observation and research.
“PETeR, Robots who look at the Sky”
The “Astronomical Itinerary includes, specifically, training within the Educational Project with Robotic Telescopes (PETeR) is the acronym for the Spanish version ) of the IAC which allows students and teachers to observe the universo and develop their own scientific ressearch with the same tools as those used by the instrnational scientific community: professional robotic telescopes. The biggest of these instruments is the Liverpool Telescope (LT) of 2 m diameter, in the municipality of Garafía on the Island of La Palma. The project also makes available to the educaton community other smaller robotic telescopes, such as the 40 cm telescopes of the Las Cumbres Observatory network, which are distributed around the world, inluding the Teide Observatory (OT) at Izaña, Tenerife, and the telescopes PIRATE and COAST recently installed at the OT.
The training (for which the students on the course must be present, see the Calendar) will be given by the astrophysicist and outreach specialist Nayra Rodríguez Eugenio, who is the scientific coordinator of PETeR. It will include an Introduction to theproject, the activities and observations which will be offered via the web of the project (3 hours) and a practical section (6 hours) which will be centred on the use of specific software to vizualize and carry out measurements on the images obtained with the telescopes, as well as some practical examples of scientific projects which can be carried out with PETeR.
Each of the separate training sections of the Astronomical Itinerary can be performed separately, but at least 10 hours of training will be needed in order to obtain the certificate.
"CosmoEducating and discovering the Universe”
As part of the COSMOLAB project funded by the Cabildo of Tenerife via its Tenerife 2030 project, specific training in different fields of astronomy is being offered, with the aim of encouraging the educational community of the Island to identify scientific culture and the Canary sky as a part of its heritage.
The subject modules will comprise two hours of theoretical introduction to a field of astrophysics, offered by experts, researchers at the IAC, and one hour of practicals in which the relation between the topic and the school curriculum and its application in the classroom will be discussed. The topics to be covered will be : The Sun, from inside and from outside, The Moon, The Solar System, Extrasolar Planets, The stars, The chemistry of the universe, the galaxies, and the universe at large scale.
This course will be taught by the astrophysicist and outreach specialist Sandra Benitez, who will run everything related to the organization of the course and the preparation of the didactic programme.
Inscriptions for this course are now open via the link.
“100 Square Moons”
During this school year we will also be continuing with training via the initiative “100 Square Moons” of the IAC, within the framework of the project“NIÉPCE: del negativo al positivo” “NIÉPCE from the negative to the positive” .The project consists of an exhibition composed of nine panels with images taken with the Sky Treasure Chest (STC) Astrograph of the UC3, of which ten collections will circulate through educational centres of the Islands. The size of each of the photographs on show is ten times that of the moon, using this as a measuring unit, This means that each image has the size of 100 square moons, which gives the project its name.
But “100 Square Moons” is much more than an exhibition. The panels have, as complments, a web page, and applications of augmented reality. All of this is accompanied by training of teachers in science museums and Teacher Centres (CEP) in the Canaries (dates of the training sessions are not yet ready) who will then explain the exhibition to their students.
The collaborative framework between the IAC and the CEU of the Canary Government is maintaining the continuous practice of outreach and training activities in astronomy among the teachers and the students of the Canaries. By means of these inspirational activities our aim is to further access by our students, both girls and boys, to educatonal and professional careers, which can be linked to this most exciting scientific and technological field which is accessible from the Canaries.