The Exploration of Neighboring Skies by Ilboru Students

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20150223_115539 The standard seven students from Ilboru primary school had a desire to watch and identify planets through the telescopes. Unfortunately this was not possible for so long, because they are in a day school and had to be home at night. But thanks to Mr. Maleko (Teacher) who manage to quench their desire by arranging a starry night observation day. At this night the group aimed at identification of the planets visible at night, more specifically those close to our home planet Earth.

Through their teacher’s supervision they gathered from 7:00 pm to 10:00 pm, in which they started by observing the moon’s surface. They students’ could see the surface of the moon as rough, something they didn’t expect. The view amazed them as they have never thought of the moon’s surface to be rough. They later on proceeded with the exercise to distinguish planets from the stars with the naked eyes.

Prior to the exercise, they had discussion with the teacher on how they could identify different objects in the night and how to distinguish one from the other. They were told that, the main difference between the stars and planets is on the light they send to us. The light coming from the star is unstable and twinkles, while that from the planet is stable and calm. And the difference between stars and satellites is that, the latter is in motion around revolving around our home planet, while the stars are stationary but seen to be in motion because of the Earth’s revolution around the Sun.

In this exercise the students were able to identify Venus, Mars and Jupiter as planets in the starry night of the day. They also took time to study and understand our home planet, of with they realized we are actually living on its surface. They could figure this because, that is the way we could see to other planets floating in the sky.

20150226_225620The starry night observation day was indeed a happy moment to the students of Ilboru primary school. They had an opportunity to know things, they say they didn’t know in their 13 years of being born and 7 years of schooling.

In this night they had so many questions for their teacher, they even went home with some questions they would to know more about. They would real like to hear from you if you can respond to any of those:

  1. Are there animals, plants, hill and valleys on other planets like on our home planet Earth?
  2. What will happen when the planets collide?
  3. What will happen when satellites collide among themselves or with the moon?

Together with the teacher the students are thankful to teaching resources provided by UNAWE-Tanzania and Telescopes to Tanzania which have assisted in learning, discussion and understanding of our neighboring skies.

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Translated from Eliatosha Maleko article about the event

Stakeholders’ Reception of Astro-Science Ambassadors Outreach for Science Education Project

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Mr. Thomas Mbise Addressing Stakeholders
Mr. Thomas Mbise Give Brief History of the Organization

“We need more trained ambassadors and additional activities to share with teachers.”  That’s how Thomas Mbise, a board member of the Centre for Science Education and Observatory summed up the February 6th gathering of almost 70 educators in Usa River, Tanzania. (see attached photo)  Mbise had given a presentation on the history of the Centre during the inception meeting.

The event brought together teachers, school heads, District Education officers from the Ministry of Education, and other leaders in a day-long event where they learned about the Astro-Science Ambassadors Outreach for Science Education program.

The participants were welcomed by Prof. Hodian Urio of Mt Meru University and chair of the Centre Board. He talked about science education in Tanzania and emphasized the need for improving the situation by volunteering our time for the betterment of future generations. He pointed out the importance of the outreach program and how its success depends on the willingness of the participants to engage in the work.

Joeline presenting the program
Joeline Present the Project to Stakeholders and Teachers

Joeline Ezekiel, one of two UNAWE-Tanzania/Telescopes to Tanzania representatives making presentations shared the expected outcomes of the program.  These include: a goal of reaching 48 teachers from 24 school and approximately 1000 students; engaging two government officials; and the development of ten astro-science activities. The proposed implementation plan, anticipated project timeline, and project achievement indicators were included in the presentation.

Albert Kisongola, also representing UNAWE-Tanzania/Telescopes to Tanzania, gave a presentation on how the project is going to be monitored and evaluated.  He pointed out the tools for evaluation, which include registration forms, report forms, questionnaires, and other testimony in the form of writings, pictures and films.

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Project Stakeholders and Teachers

Following the event Kisongola wrote, “I saw a new way of improving science teaching in our schools. I saw the District Education Officers express their desire for the project to grow into a national program to benefit all teachers and students in Tanzania. I saw teachers who enjoyed and expressed interest in our presentations, and I saw them ready to engage into this serious task. We all saw them asking lot of questions about the project and we were there to respond.”

Dr. Charles Mahela, deputy chancellor from the African Institute for Mathematical Science (AIMS) shared the work of  AIMS.  He pledged to strengthen the collaboration between stakeholders represented at the gathering and talked about the opportunities offered by AIMS to science teachers.

During a question and answer period both Ministry of Education representatives promised full support to the project.

The Science Ambassador program was established by the Centre in June of last year following a training event led by UNAWE – Tanzania and Telescopes to Tanzania trainers.  The goal of the initial group of more than a dozen ambassador-

Astro-Science Ambassador Leader Present their Work
Astro-Science Ambassador Leader Present their Work

educators is to help teachers in secondary schools in the region to have more hands-on, inquiry based models for science and math classrooms.  The models are designed to meet the requirements outlined in the government mandated curriculum.

This initial phase of training and outreach in 2015 is supported by funds raised last year in a successful crowd sourcing campaign along with a grant from the International Astronomical Union’s Office of Astronomy for Development.

Today, these leaders in Tanzania have a strong vision and ambitious plans for growing the work of the Centre and they invite you to contribute to supporting the current campaign on the new Fiat Physica site: http://www.fiatphysica.com/campaigns/telescopes-to-tanzania/

Or visit the Telescopes to Tanzania webpage at: http://www.astronomerswithoutborders.org/awb-programs/resource-sharing-programs/telescopes-to-tanzania.html after March 8 to contribute via PayPal.

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Participant Photo: Almost 70 educations attended a day-long event on February 6th to learn about the Astro-Science Ambassadors Outreach for Science Education program in Usa River, Tanzania.