EU Universe Awareness has created an simple, innovative resource for the classroom, to help your students get to know their place in the Universe! The EU-UNAWE Earth Ball is a light, blow-up version of our planet that comes with an activity book brim-full of ideas about how to use this tool for teaching astronomy, geography, environmental awareness, global citizenship and even physics and biology. You'd have to fly almost 20,000 km away from the Earth to be able to view the entire planet, but the new EU-UNAWE Earth Ball offers a unique perspective that makes it easy to teach children all sorts of facts about the planet: from its shape to its the axial tilt, its surface composition and more! National borders are not marked on the EU-UNAWE Earth Ball, emphasizing that we are all citizens of a single planet.
Almost 7000 EU-UNAWE Earth Balls are being distributed across the global UNAWE network, to 57 countries in six different continents, and thousands of schools. And they're already being put to good use: in Iceland every primary school in the country will receive an EU-UNAWE Earth Ball!
In Africa, 20 Tanzanian astronomy clubs are now utilizing them to teach young children concepts such as night and day, eclipses, time zones and continents. The ball is even being used in physics lessons to demonstrate gravity, the cosmos and space travel. EU-UNAWE Earth Balls have also been distributed to science centres and teacher training programmes across the country which are being organised by UNAWE Tanzania.
The Ghana Planetarium will soon receive 60 new EU-UNAWE Earth Balls for use during school visits, with the general public and to disseminate to their active astronomy club. They also aim to distribute them to local teachers to encourage them to explain scientific concepts in a practical and innovative way. This is particularly important in Ghana where science graduates are desperately needed for the country's development.
UNAWE Pakistan has devised an imaginative distribution plan for their EU-UNAWE Earth Balls; not only are they being used by children as part of such projects as writing a report on the physical features of Earth; but they being used as inspirational decorations at star parties, and awarded as prizes in education competitions.
The Astronomical Observatory of Valencia in Spain is using the EU-UNAWE Earth Ball during triweekly sessions with very young children (aged between 3 and 5 years) to demonstrate intriguing aspects of nature, such as why the North Star remains fixed in the sky.
But, even with 7000 EU-UNAWE Earth Balls loose across the planet, we still want to reach more schools! We're therefore giving you the opportunity to claim an EU-UNAWE Earth Ball for free, so that you can organise your own UNAWE activities! The EU-UNAWE Earth Ball is available with slight cloud coverage or with no clouds at all. If you are interested in having your own, all you have to do it visit the EU-UNAWE website and fill in an online form by 8 September. Include the number of EU-UNAWE Earth balls you'd like, along with a short description of how you plan to use them, and the most deserving cases will be picked. The online form can be accessed here.
If you're struggling for ideas on how to use the EU-UNAWE Earth Ball in the classroom, we've created the perfect accompaniment: the Earth Ball Activity Guide. The booklet contains around 50 interactive, hands-on activities for children aged between 6 and 12 years. All source files (InDesign) for the book are available on the Universe Awareness website for translation, adaptation and distribution, as with all UNAWE resources. You can find the Earth Ball Activity Guide in English here: http://unawe.org/resources/education/Earthball_booklet/ and Dutch here: http://nl.unawe.org/middelen/lesmateriaal/EarthBall_boek_NL/