In between June 16th till 19th the long waited workshop to begin the development of astro-science curriculum for teaching teachers and help students use hand on learning activities, based on Tanzania syllabus for science subjects of Geography, Chemistry, Biology, Physics and Mathematics was successful conducted.
The process did not begin on the 16th June, but in January 2014 at which the working task force was formed, composed of science teachers, school heads, Ministry of Education Office representative, scientists and astronomy educators. Together they revised the syllabus and identified the areas where astronomy could be integrated to enhance the understanding of the science concepts.
The template was developed to ensure integration doesn’t distort the intended objective of the topic and sub topic as required by the Government of the United Republic of Tanzania. These areas took into consideration on how scientists think as one team to solve a commons problem. Like how to live in an International Space Station with micro gravity.
The four days of the workshop were mainly used to let the subject teachers to think of the activities which they were going to use to teacher similar concepts of the syllabus but by using the concepts of astronomy and enhance the understanding and integration of scientific knowledge from different disciplines.
Teachers were working in groups and were encouraged to think outside the box. This was very necessary as the teaching they are used to is working in isolation based on respective subjects. We encouraged the teachers to think as if they are students to come up with methods, questions, activities or models which could help them understand and realize the application of the concepts in real life.
The thinking was enhanced through the demonstration session on which hands’ on activities, using locally available materials were demonstrated by the facilitator. In this session they also had an opportunity to experience long distance learning, through video conference with our GTTP partner in Portugal and Yerkes Observatory in Wisconsin, USA.
At the end of the four days workshop more than 20 activities were developed by teachers to be used in teaching topics and sub topics of Biology, Chemistry and Physics. Even though we were not able to exhaust all the highlighted areas of the syllabus, we are sure of getting more activities relevant to Tanzania from the participants who showed highest level of acquiring the integration skills.
Feedback form from the participants and how they are going to use the knowledge is accessible from here.