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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.
Universe in a Box
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.
Educational Goals
  • 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.
    Source: UNAWE
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