It is a long way before we see full potential of astronomy on improving science learning and understanding in Tanzania. But the modest efforts we make gives a huge return and makes us move a step further with a big hope.
This time we are impressed with the work of the two science teachers, who were eager to see how astronomy can be a tool to improve science teaching in Tanzania. They decide to do a project on THE POTENTIAL AND APPLICATION OF ASTRONOMY IN EXPLAINING CONCEPTS IN OTHER SCIENCES in order to pursue their Bachelor of Science in Education from Mkwawa University College of Education in the year 2014.
Their project aimed at making astronomy to be used as a tool for explain other fields of sciences. This came about due to the lost of interest by secondary school students on taking science subjects, including Physics subject which was the case was the project case study. The major cause of the problem is explained to be lack of different means and techniques on providing demonstrations and explanations to important concepts when teaching and learning Physics. Same methods and techniques have been used and yet no big results are obtained. Hence the project intend to show how the problem can be alleviated by using some astronomical concepts to explain some scientific concepts in other fields of sciences.
The project found out, some astronomical knowledge concepts can actually be applied to explain and demonstrate other science concepts as they appear in the current science syllabus of Tanzania. One of the example used in the report is the interchangeable explanation of atomic structure and solar system.
The knowledge of the solar system can be applied to explain the structure of the atom and the motion of the electron in their orbits around the nucleus, just like the planets in their orbits around the sun. The force which keeps the electrons in their orbits is the same force of attraction which keep the planets in their orbits.
It is in the context of similar examples the project emphasize on the need of more findings, projects and researches in order to discover astronomical concepts which can be used to enhance the understanding of other scientific concepts in other fields of science. This way it hopes to raise interest to teachers and science students in secondary schools to learn more about science through astronomy amusement.
The project has also recommend the use of its findings to explain how astronomy can be used as a tool to explain common scientific concepts in other fields of sciences, but also on the need to incorporated astronomy in the secondary schools science curriculum so as to support the easy understanding of the students and raise their interests on learning science.
UNAWE-Tanzania is thankful to Albert M. Kisongola and Patrice L. Innocent for their project, which to our knowledge is the first to relate Astronomy and Science teaching in Tanzania.
We look forward to use the project report on our continued efforts to raise awareness of astronomy for better science teaching and understanding in Tanzania.
We are also thankful to our partners (Telescopes to Tanzania, Office for Astronomy Development and Universe Awareness) for their support on education resources, which we look forward to use and integrate when we implement recommendations from this project report as well as other projects we work on.