NATIONAL SCIENCE WEEK EDUCATOR WORKSHOP
UNIVERSE IN THE BOX
On the 3rd of August 2013 eight educators and the National Curriculum Advisor from the Western Cape Education Department attended the Universe In the Box Workshop. The box is an international project piloted in countries around the world. It contains several practical tools used in the teaching of astronomy.This workshop is a follow on from SciFest Universe in the Box workshop organised by SAASTA.
The aim of the this workshop was to train educators on how to use the different astronomy tools and to give the educators an opportunity to pilot the box from September to December at their schools. The workshop was led by PHD student Eli Kasai, who is an intern at the OAD Office. Eli is working on replicating the box in South Africa. Material and activities developed for workshop, were linked to the teaching of Earth and Beyond from grade four to grade six. The key focus areas were day and night, seasons, moon phases and planets. Eli gave practical demonstrations for each of the main concepts and provided educators with additional background information for those concepts. Educators had an opportunity to ask questions related to the teaching of astronomy in the classroom during the session.
All of the educators, including the Suanne Rampou the National Curriculum Advisor agreed that this is a wonderful tool to use in their classrooms. It will enable learners to engage in hands on activities, and develop a better understanding of astronomical concepts. Thus it is hoped that this will lead to a generation of astronomers, scientists, engineers particularly among female learners.