Daily Image

Click here or on the picture for a full size image.

Astronomy in high-school education

Submitter: Joeri van Leeuwen
Description: Astronomy has a singularly visual and attractive role in encouraging scientific curiosity in the wider public. The ability of astronomy to stimulate students (and specifically, girls) to choose physics or technical studies is especially interesting, as the Dutch cabinet has declared it aims to strengthen The Netherlands' position in the world's top five most-competitive knowledge economies. Because it is highly visual and thought-provoking, astronomy is uniquely suited to engage young students in the physical sciences.

Through high-school physics curriculum progress, we are succeeding in bringing astronomy to adolescent-age students. Through the Physics Education Renewal, astronomy is now part of high-school materials. For 5 VWO (16-yr olds) this includes e.g., the power radiated by the Sun, its spectrum, and the Planck curves; but also the CMB. For 6 VWO (17-yr) olds, topics are as advanced as Gravition, Astrophysics (including sections on Westerbork, LOFAR, and pulsars!), Quantumphysics and even Special Relativity. So, note one of the Dutch standard physics series "Pulsar", above. Astronomers involved include coordinator Jaap de Vreeling (NOVA), and authors Alex de Koter, Peter Barthel and Henny Lamers. There is a copy in Joeri's room for anyone interested.

By next holding lectures in the refresher courses that high-school physics educator take, we invest time in teaching the teachers, in "number multipliers". For the central region of the Netherlands, Wijers, van den Heuvel and Van Leeuwen teach this yearly post-graduate course. Through that approach we have reached tens of thousands of learners.
Copyright: JvL
  Follow us on Twitter
Please feel free to submit an image using the Submit page.