IAU astroEDU, a platform for peer-reviewed, open-access astronomy education activities, has been recognised for its educational value by Scientix — the European Network of Science Education. At the Scientix Conference, which brought together more than 600 educators, astroEDU was awarded the first Scientix Award for Best Resources in Science, Technology, Mathematics and Engineering. The award highlights the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics resource Star in a Box, an activity that explores the life-cycle of stars and which was developed by the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope Network (LCOGT) for high school students.
The Star in a Box web application was created to provide teachers with an exciting way of teaching a fundamental, yet possibly unfamiliar topic, in a fun way that has a high visual impact. It animates stars with different starting masses as they change during their lives. Some stars live fast-paced, dramatic lives; others change very little for billions of years. The app visualises the changes in mass, size, brightness and temperature for all these different stages.
Scientix introduced the Scientix Awards to showcase the best educational resources that are freely available for educators and teachers. More than a hundred resources from all around Europe were evaluated by a panel of 15 teachers and educators. The evaluations panel focused on the pedagogical added value, openness, curriculum integration, clarity and use of technology.
astroEDU was launched less than a year ago and is a platform that allows educators to discover, review, distribute, improve and remix astronomy education activities. It offers a free peer-review service by professionals in education and science. astroEDU is a project of the Office of Astronomy for Development from the International Astronomical Union.
The IAU is the international astronomical organisation that brings together more than 10 000 professional astronomers from almost 100 countries. Its mission is to promote and safeguard the science of astronomy in all its aspects through international cooperation. The IAU also serves as the internationally recognised authority for assigning designations to celestial bodies and the surface features on them. Founded in 1919, the IAU is the world's largest professional body for astronomers.
The IAU established the Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD) in partnership with the South African National Research Foundation (NRF). The OAD was officially opened in 2011 at the South African Astronomical Observatory (SAAO) in Cape Town, South Africa. Since then four Regional Nodes, one Language Expertise Centre and three Task Forces have been established: Universities and Research (TF1); Children and Schools (TF2); and Public Outreach (TF3).
Scientix, a European Union initiative, promotes and supports a Europe-wide collaboration among STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) teachers, education researchers, policymakers and other STEM education professionals. The project built an online portal to collect and present European STEM education projects and their results, and organised several teacher workshops. Scientix aims to reach out to national teacher communities, and contribute to the development of national strategies for wider uptake of inquiry-based and other innovative approaches to science and maths education.
astroEDU Managing Editor / UNAWE International Project Manager
Leiden, the Netherlands
Cell: +31 654372658
astroEDU Managing Editor / Education director Las Cumbres Observatory
Tel: +44 2920 875121
Lars Lindberg Christensen
IAU Press Officer
Tel: +49 89 3200 6761