Astro Party

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Astro Party is an annual event in Bulgaria that makes extra-curricular activities more attractive to students and makes the landmarks by the Danube riverside more popular in the region.

On 9 and 10 May 2014 the 10th anniversary edition of Astro party Baykal was held in Bulgaria. Astro Party has been traditionally held since 2005 on the beautiful bank of the river of Danube at the village of Baykal, Dolna Mitropolia Municipality, Bulgaria, under the patronage of the Minister of Education and Science and the Mayor of Dolna Mitropolia Municipality. The programme includes activities with students and teachers, which inspire a love of both sciences – physics and astronomy.

Thanks to the project, a lot of new astronomy clubs have been built up at regional level; the party itself raises interest in astronomy as a science and as a subject in school as well.

When taking part in the party students gain more skills both in theory itself and in making observation experiments of space. They learn how to analyse and describe such experiments. These activities are not held in school competitions in astronomy. The party itself gives a lot of opportunities to carrying out a variety of methodical activities with physics and astronomy teachers.

It makes extra-curricular activities more attractive to students and makes the landmarks by the Danube riverside more popular in the region.

The event is included for a seventh time in the National Calendar for extracurricular activities of the Ministry of Education and Science for the academic year 2015/2016.

Basic information

Country: Bulgaria

Coordinator: Ivo Jokin, ivo_jokin@abv.bg

Programme: National

Project Acronym:

Target groups: general public, parents, secondary school students, teachers, trainee teachers, vocational school students, youth clubs

Topic: Astronomy, Ecology, Physics

Start year: 2005

Url: http://astroparty.simplesite.com/

Contact person: Ivo Jokin, ivo_jokin (at) abv.bg

Project aims:

  • getting students interested in astronomy and watching space
  • increasing interest in physics knowledge - especially in astronomy, sense of harmony and order and aesthetics
  • providing a suitable environment for developing creative and intellectual skills in teachers and students
  • developing creative activity and raising interest and knowledge in the field of astronomy
  • exchange of teaching experience

Objectives:

  • providing students with knowledge and skills in the field of physics and astronomy
  • improving and developing knowledge of students who show interest in astronomy
  • helping students with vocational guidance by providing them with team work skills
  • providing students with practical skills in explaining unknown physics phenomena
  • providing students with skills for developing space watching activities
  • Work, style and methods: innovative methods, team work, workshops. Students who have proved their excellent knowledge of astronomy teach their beginner classmates. A variety of practical activities and education with regard to ecology are also included in the event.

    GTTP Workshop during Astro party Bulgaria

    During the event, a special GTTP workshop for the teachers was organised. Project activities were implemented with financial support from the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and Office of Astronomy for Development (OAD). The participants are physics and astronomy teachers from the municipal schools on the territory of Dolna Mitropolia municipality and across the country, Republic of Romania and Republic of Turkey, high-achieving students in regional, national and international astronomy Olympics and those who are about to discover the most beautiful and ancient science – astronomy.

    Main topic of Astro party Baykal 2014 – “The universe in our school”. A special GTTP workshop for the teachers was organised, along with a “Galileo teacher” certificate awarded by the Galileo ambassador for Bulgaria – Ivo Jokin.

    Guests of the event were:

    1. Mrs. Polya Tsonovska – Mayor of Dolna Mitropolia Municipality
    2. Mrs. Albena Toteva - Head of the Regional education inspectorate Pleven
    3. Mrs. Katya Trifonova- Senior Expert in the Regional education inspectorate Pleven
    4. Mrs. Eva Ivanova - Senior Expert in Education Department in Dolna Mitropolia Municipality
    5. Professor Costin Boldea & Alina Boldea from the university in Craiova, Romania and PhD students from the university in Craiova
    6. Mr Arif Bayirli, national coordinator UNAWE, Istanbul, Turkey

    Guest lecturers:

    1. Assist Prof. Dr Oleg Yordanov - Institute of electronics at Bulgarian Academy of sciences, Chief Editor of World of Physics magazine and a member of the board of directors of the Union of physicists in Bulgaria
    2. Chief assistant Dr Еva Bojurova - Sofia university, Department of Methods of physics education
    3. Senior lecturer Ceca Tzolova, Professional High School in Computer systems and technologies Pravets, associated with the Technical University, Sofia, member of EAAE
    4. Mr Valeri Genkov - head of Astronomy association Sofia
    5. Mrs Boryana Boncheva - Astronomy association Sofia, Chief Editor of Telescope newspaper and Andromeda magazine
    6. Mr Georgi Latev - PhD student at the Institute of astronomy at the Bulgarian Academy of sciences

    The programme began with a lecture by Eva Bojurova on the genius scientist and astronomer Galileo Galilei in connection with the 450th anniversary of his birth. The event also included a workshop for telescopes. Each school received a telescope from Galileo-Galileoscope and teachers and students together acted as one unit. The director of the observatory in Silistra, Ms Marlena Gospodinova. prepared an interesting practical task called "Astro saltshaker".

    The round table "Teachers for Teachers" in the conference room of the Municipal Centre traditionally exchanged best practices and presented useful and interesting projects in which teachers can participate. Ivo Jokin presented the Strategic plan IAU 2010-2020, GTTP, EAAE, GO Lab, and Mrs Ceca Tzolova presented Scientix.

    An observational programme was carried out by the Astronomy association and colleagues from Romania. Despite the cloudy weather, the participants were able to observe the Moon and Mars for a while, and the constellation Ursa Major. Ivo Jokin demonstrated how to use a CCD camera with Galileoscopes.

The equipment base of most schools is poor in observation tools and the teachers do not always succeed in carrying out observations. After the sale of school land, modern school telescopes and binoculars were bought. The purpose was for more students and teachers to have the chance to apply the school content learned in physics and astronomy in practice in a more attractive way.

This year, with the kind consent and assistance of EAAE and Prof. Rosa Ros personally, we included in the programme practical activities for the students (besides the traditional observation sessions). The making of the devices "A Simplified Quadrant", "Gun" quadrant, an Equatorial Sundial, a Spectroscope, aroused great interest not only among the students, but also among their teachers. We think that this is the way of to bring the children to natural sciences and mastery of sound knowledge and skills.

Another important idea of Astro Party is the integration of astronomy with biology, in particular ecology: use of the telescopes for observation of water-floating and water-loving birds, protected territory of “Malak Boril” island – natural bay forests of white poplar and white willow along the Danube river valley.

Workshop programme:

  1. Practical activities - telescope assembly /Galileoscope/ and methods of using CCD camera. ”Constellation”, “Solar System, planets, Moon” – work with portable star map, Moon Globe, making of the quadrant devices, an Equatorial Sundial.
  2. Solar party - watching the sun by projecting onto a screen and a special filter.
  3. Methodical seminar - Astronomy and Physics teachers. Presentation:
    • 10-year plan for the development of IAU
    • CD “EAAE Summer Schools” 1997-2005, Astronomy activities for schools, inside and outside the classroom”
    • GTTP – community, activities, educational projects in astronomy
    • national and international educational programs in astronomy
    • sharing of best teaching practices
  4. “Classroom under the stars”

Allocation of the work groups in watching sites and preparation of technical aids (5 watching sites). Practical activities:

  • Galileoscope and method of using CCD camera
  • observation of the Moon. Visual Moon drawings - “Draw the Moon” and “Shoot the Moon”- shooting with a digital camera, CCD and mobile phone

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