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Posted: Jan 29, 2013
Universe in a Box: bringing astronomy to the classroom
(Nanowerk News) Universe in a Box is designed to help teachers explain the difficult and sometimes abstract concepts of astronomy. It comes with three modules: Earth-Moon-Sun System; The Planets; and The World of Constellations. Add-on modules on the life of a star, galaxies, and the Earth-Human system are currently in development.
The specific activities or the modules as a whole can be used in a classroom or a playroom, with an ideal instructor to student ratio of 1:20.
UNAWE is currently working on establishing a framework for the production and distribution of Universe in a Box to deliver localised versions of the box to its 40 network countries within three years. Do-it-Yourself kits for the Box will also be made available in 2013 for educators / countries to assemble their own versions.
If you would like to be involved in the development of Universe in a Box and would like to request for a prototype, fill in the form on the UNAWE website.
Support elementary school curriculum with a didactic tool for teachers to help them overcome the hurdle of initial preparation by choosing appropriate focus areas and providing appropriate learning content and materials.
Encourage inquiry-based learning among children, involving discussing, drawing conclusions, and presenting. Based on their own ‘horizon’ system (Earth), children discover the celestial phenomena in a step-by-step manner and are capable, because of their own observation, to adapt their world view to the true nature of things (e.g., the sphericity of the Earth).
Link astronomical topics with other subjects such as mathematics, art, religion, etc. to support the interdisciplinary learning and present a more holistic view of our universe.
Raise awareness of children to respect other cultures, the miracle of life, and protecting the Earth through the realization that we are all inhabitants of a small, blue planet Earth.
What's in the Box?
Universe in a Box has a modular design and comes with three modules: Earth-Moon-Sun System, The Planets, and The World of Constellations. Apart from the relevant background and activity descriptions, a handbook, which is in loose-leaf folder format, also offers ideas for teaching integrated astronomy with other disciplines, guidance on further experimentation, and photocopiable craft templates to extend and apply the newly learned knowledge.
Add-on modules on the life of a star, galaxies, and the Earth-Human system are currently in development, and educators are also encouraged to customize the box with additional activities and material of their own.