From prehistorical times, astronomy was necessary for agriculture, traveling, navigation, climate forecast, and it gave new insights into the understanding of nature.
Our course will start with classical notions and then will dig deeper into the practical applications of astronomy and astrophysics in daily life: How has technology contributed to the construction of telescopes, spacecrafts and to the exploration of space? Why do we need space missions? How important are the Greenhouse effect and climate change for life on earth to exist?
We will educate young students for many new professions in astrophysics such as data analysis, computer programming and engineering specialized in modern technology materials.
RRI has been introduced in the astronomy course contents following:
IDEA 4: RRI NEEDS EXPLICIT AND CRITICAL REFLECTION IN STEM CLASSES
Students learn to utilize and develop critical thinking skills throughout the astronomy courses. The inquiry-based lessons helps students to create testable questions; design and perform experiments; collect, organize, and analyse data; and use these results to decide on the next step in the scientific process.
IDEA 7: INCLUSION IS A DRIVING FORCE FOR STEM LEARNING
All lessons are planned so as to promote inclusion in the classroom irrespective of the race, gender or socio-economic background of the students. They are also planned in accordance with the principle of gender equality so that more girls become motivated to follow careers related to STEM disciplines.
Astronomy contents are based on the following innovative educational tools
The most relevant methodology included in the content of Astronomy lessons is the Inquiry Based learning/teaching. There are different explanations of what Inquiry Based learning/teaching is. The kind of the inquiry based learning, depends on the answers of the following questions: a) who poses the questions of the inquiry b) who provides - decides the inquiry procedure c) who collects the data to be analysed d) who states the inferences and the explanations. Students or teachers have the choice to answer the above questions.
Most of the lessons include at least one simple hands-on construction, to ensure the Inderdisciplinary STEM approach in the teaching method. Some of the constructions which are included in the lessons of Astronomy are:
Lesson 1: construction of a telescope
Lesson 2: construction of the solar system and planetary movements around the sun
Lesson 5: construction of a green house
Lesson 7: circuit construction for the detection of infrared radiation
Lesson 8: Construction of an eclipse
Learning via experiments
In the development of the ten astronomy lessons we took data in three different ways: experiments, real observations and simulations.
Lesson 5: Students perform an experiment to infer the influence of a greenhouse on the atmosphere temperature.
Lesson 9: Students collect data from simulations to infer the gravity law.
Lesson 10: Students collect real data to infer the relation between the altitude and the temperature and the pressure in the atmosphere.
Storytelling and astronomy
We developed six video-stories. The content of the video stories comes from the history of astronomy and ancient Greek mythology. The incorporation of video stories in the inquiry-based teaching method is an innovation at least for the Greek educational system