HBSST is a workshop designed to promote astronomy appreciation for primary schools and junior secondary school science teachers in Nigeria and to bring the basic observational tools of Astronomy and space science closer to them.
In 2015, through the effort of the Centre for Basic Space Science Nsukka, in Nigeria, Astronomy has recently been accredited in the primary and Secondary School Teaching Curriculum. This would be a unique opportunity to offer specialized training in Astronomy to teachers, since education at primary school and secondary school level is in a developing state. Astronomy unawareness will cause serious harm to technological society, thus our younger generation and the teachers should be exposed to this interesting field of science.
In Africa, especially Nigerian, we have myth, superstitious beliefs, anxiety, fear, misconception etc relating to many astronomical events, and to eradicate all these misconceptions, we need a strong science movement through Astronomical popularization/workshops at the grass root level. These teacher hands on training will aim at upgrading the skills, teaching tools and aids of these teachers, equipping them with innovative and simple method of teaching and learning. The teachers will also be trained to use Basic Space Sciences activities as a teaching tool for their subject’s concepts. The course material will include Astronomy based activities and hands on science/astronomy using low cost/locally available material. The 3-day workshop which we intend to carry out to cover Teachers from all Primary and Secondary School Nigeria, will encompass talks, hands on activities, demonstrations, Water rocket building and launching, Construction of small optical Telescopes using locally made materials, observation using a small optical telescope, Eclipse and Solar system model making, planetarium, Solarscope, Experiments and demonstrations using Universe in a Box apparatus, group work and innovation as well as public outreach.
In most part of Nigeria, we there are major Space-academic related problems such as poor knowledge of Astronomy Among Teachers in remote primary and Secondary Schools, Teachers inability to implement the Astronomy program covered in the Primary and Secondary School Curriculum, poor knowledge of model making, fabrication of simple Astro-tools etc. To eradicate all these misconceptions, and truly equip these teachers who pass wrong information to the children, we need a strong science movement through Astronomical popularization/workshops at the grass root level. Most of these primary and secondary School Teachers are not Physicist or Astronomer and thus lack fundamental capabilities and interest in teaching this evolving new subject of Space science recently added to the education Curriculum in Nigeria e.g, I interacted with a secondary School Teacher who strongly argued with me that we have 9 planets in our Solar System and that the Sun is Static while all other planets are in motion about it, you can imagine the generation of scientist we will produce in the next 10 years if this project is not given urgent attention.
This teacher hands on training will aim at upgrading the skills, teaching tools and aids of these teachers, equipping them with innovative and simple method of teaching and learning. The teachers will also be trained to use Basic Space Sciences activities as a teaching tool for their subject’s concepts. The course material will include Astronomy based activities and hands on science/astronomy using low cost/locally available material.
This project aim to address the above-mentioned challenges through
(i)Training Primary and Secondary School Teachers in all Six Geopolitical Zones in Nigeria who will in turn supervised to train others and the chain continues
(ii) Spreading scientific awareness on “Astronomy”, popularizing space science through outreach programs and updating the entire public of any Astronomical events like eclipses, solar Halo, meteor showers, meteorite falls, etc before they happen as well as popularizing various activities of the IAU among the teachers and students of different schools and colleges in Nigeria.
(iii) developing Academic Astronomy Materials like books, posters, CD, films, models etc and making them available to Teachers, schools and colleges for their classroom presentation at no cost.
(iv) Forming an active Astronomy Instructors-Science Teachers Forum in different schools and colleges in Nigeria for Space learning and popularization continuity.
(v)Promoting widespread access to the universal knowledge of astronomy through the excitement of astronomy proper use of internet to transmit Astro Knowledge across all Teachers, Schools and Colleges in Nigeria.
(vi) Promoting knowledge on the preservation of our global cultural and natural heritage of dark skies through the awareness of observation of the night sky using simple locally made optical telescope.
(vii) Strengthening the existing networks of Astronomers by connecting these Teachers to the network of amateur astronomers, educators, scientists and communication professional through local, regional, national and international activities.
(viii) Supporting and improving all formal and informal science education among teachers in Nigerian primary and Secondary Schools.
(ix) Promoting collaboration between teachers in Primary/ secondary schools and Astronomers in the university of Higher learning in Nigeria to enhance various astronomical activities and observational facilities involving the schools, colleges and universities.
By providing ready-to-use material, presentation of talks, interactive sessions teachers as well as hands on training on Astronomy models and observing tools for teachers,
(i)We will strengthen their knowledge in basic Space science and Astronomy.
(ii)teachers will be empowered and capably skillful enough to be better teachers, science communicators (and better learners too).
(iii) Teachers will learn new methods of communicating astronomy and other science subjects to their students using inquiry based method and descriptive teaching approach. etc