Skills building for environmental sustainability through Astronomy – Erasmus+

Among the main goals of the 1st Experimental Primary School of Thessaloniki – SPE AUTh is to prepare students for personal and academic success and to create responsible citizens, thereby contributing to the development of a common European educational culture.

To this end, this year we are running the Erasmus-funded project Skills building for environmental sustainability through AstronomyKA122-SCH-C1D75D65, which addresses the widely recognized need for integrating Education for Sustainability and STEM skills and competences into subject curricula, with a special emphasis on the field of Astronomy.

In these respects, our project aims to heighten awareness and to upgrade our teachers’ knowledge so that they efficiently meet the environmental challenges, applying methods and practices which cultivate relevant skills and competences. More specifically, the designed mobility activities will deepen our understanding of the interconnection between the science of Astronomy-Astrophysics with Environmental Education, making evident the benefits of integrating Astronomy across the curriculum and providing our teachers with ideas and practical examples of using Astronomy and its applications in Environmental Education. At the same time, the mobility activities will upgrade our teaching practice in STEM Education with reference to skill building and the use of digital tools and environments that promote individualised learning. Last but not least, our project will foster our school’s internationalisation, reinforcing a European dimension through the establishment of collaborative networks and the exchange of practices with foreign colleagues and education experts.

As regards the planned mobility activities, these involve the following:

  • Three participants will attend the educational course “Astronomy Education Adventure in Canary Islands” organised by the Nucleo Interactivo de Astronomia Associacao – Nuclio and the Institute of Astronomy of the Canary Islands. The participants will have the opportunity to meet the use of robotic telescopes for developing student research projects, as well as other resources and online laboratories as educational resources in inquiry-based learning and the multidisciplinary approaches. Accordingly, they will become aware of ways to introduce Astronomy, space exploration and scientific research into the curriculum.
  • Four participants will conduct job shadowing in a primary school in Finland, or another Scandinavian country. The participants will observe skill building methods and practices in STEM education, strategies and ways of integrating STEM Education and Education for Sustainability, as well as the organisational characteristics of the educational system and school management that support the above.

Our project is expected to have a positive impact on all members of our school community. Firstly, it will strengthen our school’s European dimension and our teachers’ ability to contribute to a common educational culture. The integration of Astronomy and STEM practices across the curriculum will enhance our students’ understanding of climate change and their motivation to deepen their knowledge and to take action for the environment. It will also help them develop the 4C’s and individualised learning practices, thereby improving their ability to learn and to pursue personal/academic success, alongside other social/civic skills that are involved in active citizenship. Accordingly, our project will also strengthen the impact of Citizenship Education, making a vital contribution through the implementation of student projects that meet real needs in the wider community. In these respect, we hope to increase engagement and our capacity to nurture citizens for a sustainable society.

For more information, please see the project’s webpage on the Erasmus+ Project Results Platform.

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