On 1-2 February 2012, UNAWE Venezuela invited 35 students and teachers from high schools in Mérida, Venezuela, to the Centro de Investigaciones de Astronomía (Research Centre for Astronomy) to participate in an interactive astronomy workshop.
At the start of the workshop, the students familiarised themselves with various astronomy topics. In small groups of 4-5, they were then asked to prepare a performance that showed the origins of the Milky Way according to indigenous astronomy in many cultures, including Egyptian, Greek, Mayan and African.
Following the performances, the students then learned about what astronomers now understand about the Milky Way. And through live demonstrations of physical processes and principles, the students also gained a deeper understanding of, for example, Kepler’s laws of planetary motion. The workshop concluded with a video and a debate about the future of space exploration.
Enrique Torres, coordinator of UNAWE Venezuela, says that there’s a growing need to devise new strategies in order to teach astronomy more effectively. “The young people and teachers were highly satisfied with the new methodology. They said that it is an innovative and fun way of learning science, allowing them a more direct and clear understanding of physical phenomena in the cosmos,” he says.
The workshop will be repeated later this month, this time in the towns of Santo Domingo, Lagunillas and Timotes. For more information, please contact Enrique.