Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Astronomy in Goa - III : School Activities

This post is a part of a series on Astronomy Center activities in Goa. I have outlined the aims and target communities for it, read my guide post for details. The current post will outline main activities for school children. The next post will examine the physical and other needs of such astronomy activities.

It is highly recommended that activities for general public to be carried out while conducting school- and college-level activities. Not only is it easy to do so, but without such activities, general public will not be aware about such a center and will not support it at the local level. One will have to sell the above activities for general public in some form or another. To think of it, school/college audience is only a part of "general public".

Coming to specific activities for school students:


a) To do simple naked-eye astronomy: get acquainted with stars, planets, comets, and meteors.

b) Seasons and astronomical bodies,

both the above activities are expected to stimulate astronomy discussions and general background.

c) To recount history of sky monitoring and astronomy, in India and abroad.

d) Stories of famous Indian astronomers and mathematicians.

f) To study the connection with science/physics through simple examples.

g) To understand role of astronomical observations in calendars


a) To develop graded astronomy curriculum material:

  1. For 8th to 10th level classes. We need to start from simple concepts of Earth as a rotating, spherical body.
  2. Learn about the Sun as a star, moon as a satellite, and planets as satellites of the Sun.
  3. Gradually, we need to introduce higher concepts along with simple physical interpretation (for example, mass of the Sun).

b) Simple naked-eye activities can be used to do geometrical interpretation of events, such as planet motions, Earth's rotation axis, Moon's motion around itself and the Earth, etc.

c) Techniques of detailed observations of planets,
stars, and other heavenly bodies using a telescope and CCDs. Understand the difference between eyes and an external 'detector'.

d) Relating measured quantities to class-room physics and mathematics learnt previously by students. In particular: concept of angles, motions of planets using Kepler's laws, radii of and
distances to planets assuming some parameters, etc.

e) Conduct astronomy quizzes and competitions.

Encourage astro-photography and virtual observatory : internet-based observations using web-cam connected telescopes and astrophotography.

Print and digital media interaction to reach wider audience.

Community-based activities

a) Students could help spread astronomy awareness at their homes.

b) Elder students could work with junior students to explain science and techniques of astronomy.

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