Life In The Universe: Using Astronomy To Teach Primary School Children About Climate Change

Students in a changing climate: how can astronomy help?
4th Shaw-IAU Workshop
Wednesday Nov. 16, 2022
UTC: 8:25 a.m. - 8:35 a.m.
Thursday Nov. 17, 2022
UTC: 1:25 p.m. - 1:35 p.m.

As a part of the sustainability committee at the Leiden Observatory in The Netherlands, we have developed a 5-day lesson program designed for primary school students (9-12 years old) to discover the principles of astronomy, conditions for life in the Universe and on planet Earth, and sustainability. Students are introduced to the concepts of time, evolution and the history of Earth and that the Universe is not static, but evolves too; conditions for life can change. Students go through the inquiry and design based learning cycle by designing their own alien that has to survive on an assigned planet or moon. The program builds upon the Design Your Alien workshop from AstroEdu with the added link to sustainability and testing phase for the survivability of their aliens. Our pilot project has been very successful and with the support from the De Zeeuw-Van Dishoeck Fund we have been able to further develop the lesson material, which will be made available online for everyone to use in the near future. In this talk I will discuss the goals of the project, the challenges that we faced, and our outlook on the future.

About Anniek Gloudemans

Anniek Gloudemans is a PhD candidate at Leiden Observatory working in the field of extragalactic radio astronomy. Besides her research, she spends her time organising outreach activities such as Astronomy on Tap in Leiden and the primary school program Life in the Universe, which was awarded with the ET outreach award in 2021.