AstroMcGill Adopt an Astronomer- Space Explorers program

AstroMcGill, the astronomy outreach group at McGill University, requests funds to support a new program called “Adopt an Astronomer”. This program will send McGill University’s young professional astronomers (graduate students or post-doctoral researchers) to primary school classrooms around Québec, multiple times a year. In other words, each partner classroom will “adopt” their own astronomer, interacting with her/him on multiple occasions during the school year. In addition, each astronomer will be matched with one of McGill’s Faculty of Education pre-service/in-service teachers, forming pairs visiting the same classroom throughout the program duration. The goals of this program are two-fold: – Educational: it will provide science mentors to school children, inspiring them to pursue a life-long love of science while teaching and promoting important astronomy concepts. – Pedagogical: it will foster the exchange of skills between the pre-service/in-service teachers (pedagogy, how to engage young children, etc…) and the professional astronomers (knowledge of astronomy and science). These free classroom visits will consist of multiple hands-on, fun astronomy activities and scientific experiments held in the classrooms. The creation and funding of this unique program will open new opportunities for science promotion in Québec. Funding from the IAU Office of Astronomy for Development will be used to cover the cost of transportation to and from the primary schools as well as the cost of materials for the first year of operation, allowing to evaluate the impact of such a program. With the budget requested, we plan to reach over 500 students in the first year, and possibly more in the following years.