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ASTRON: teaching high-school teachers

Submitter: Roy Smits & Annette de Boer
Description: Once a year, more than 500 physics-teachers from all over The Netherlands gather during the so-called "Woudschoten-conference" which is held in Noordwijkerhout. The theme for last year's conference, held on 16 and 17 December 2011, was "BijNa" (a Dutch acronym which stands for "Bijscholing Natuurkunde", meaning extra training in Physics). The purpose of this conference is to offer teachers lectures and workshops related to new subjects in the Dutch final exams. New topics are for example relativity-theory, particle-physics, geophysics, biophysics, the Solar-system and the Universe.

It's a great opportunity to teach the teachers about ASTRON and to inform them about the latest developments in radio-astronomy and the possibility for students to do live pulsar observations with the Dwingeloo Telescope. For that purpose Roy Smits and Annette de Boer loaded up their cars with lots of material and set up a stand as can be seen in the picture. With great enthusiasm we spoke of ASTRON's role on the world-stage, the developments of LOFAR and SKA. It was interesting to find a great difference in knowledge amongst the teachers. While some where in fact themselves amateur astronomers who loved to have a chat with us about their own experiences, to others we opened a completely new door of knowledge. We hope that we interested the teachers enough for them to carry our enthusiasm over to their students, using the posters and information we provided them with and triggering a new wave of astronomy-students in a couple of years.
Copyright: Stichting Werkgroep Natuurkunde Didaktiek (WND)
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