The Astronomy in Ghana project aimed to promote practical astronomy topics and hands-on activities among students and teachers to foster problem-solving skills and develop an interest in STEM subjects for informed academic and career choices. The project successfully formed astronomy clubs in six schools across three southern regions of Ghana: Greater Accra, Volta, and Central Region. The schools involved were Christ Church Anglican Basic School, St. Martha’s Catholic Basic “B” School, St. Mary’s Anglican Basic A&B school, Domiabra Methodist 2 Basic School, Osu Presbyterian Girls School and E.P Kekeli International school.
The project started with a 2-day preparation workshop where an astronomy curriculum and teaching materials were developed. Then, the team visited the schools to present on the importance of astronomy, encouraging students and teachers to join the astronomy clubs formed in each school. To ensure the sustainability of the astronomy clubs, a 2-day patrons’ workshop was organized to train and equip the club patrons with the necessary knowledge and skills to run the clubs effectively. Additionally, a Teacher Training handout containing astronomy topics and activity materials was provided to the club patrons.
The project’s progress was evaluated through club monitoring and evaluation sessions, which included pre and post astronomy questions to assess students’ understanding of the topics. The results showed significant improvement in students’ knowledge of various astronomy subjects.
As part of the educational experience, the astronomy clubs visited the Ghana Radio Astronomy Observatory for a tour, providing them with a physical understanding of a 32 m radio telescope and its operation.
Finally, the project concluded with an inter-school astronomy quiz competition, where St. Martha’s Catholic Basic “B” School emerged as the winners. Overall, the Astronomy in Ghana project successfully introduced practical astronomy topics, hands-on activities, and astronomy clubs to schools in Ghana (293 students plus 6 patrons and 5 co-patrons), enhancing students’ interest in STEM fields and promoting informed academic and career choices.
|Content Development||15th February – 15th April 2022||2 months|
|Project Onboard Meeting||17th June 2022||3hours|
|Pre – Trainers – workshop||11th May 2022||1 day|
|Trainers Workshop||19th – 21st May 2022||2 days|
|Initial presentation and school visits||July – August 2022||1 month|
|Teachers Training Workshop||15th June – 17th June 2022||2 days|
|Clubs monitoring and Evaluation 1||November-December 2022||2months|
|Educational Visit to GRAO||27-Jan-23||3 weeks|
|Clubs monitoring and Evaluation 2||January – June 2023||5 months|
|Inter-School Astronomy Quiz||2-Jun-23||1day|
- Initial Presentation (“Importance of Astronomy in Ghana”): This was presented during the initial school visits
- Presentations (Astronomy lessons) : These were used during the instructors workshops and Teacher/patrons workshop to train the team members and teachers
- Handbook for Astronomy Club Patrons. This was given to the patrons after the Teacher/patrons workshop.
- Before the workshop, 60%, 80%, 60%, 20%, 40%, 20% and 40% of the Patrons felt comfortable with teaching Earth, Moon and Sun, Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy, Galaxies in general, EM Spectrum, Telescopes, and Satellites topics respectively.
- After the workshop, 100%, 100%, 100%, 100%, 75%, 75% and 100% of the Patrons felt comfortable with teaching Earth, Moon and Sun, Solar System, Milky Way Galaxy, Galaxies in general, EM Spectrum, Telescopes, and Satellites topics respectively.
The astronomy knowledge of the teachers improved comparing before and after the workshop. Teachers generally provided positive feedback on the workshop, suggesting it be expanded to a longer duration.
- Before the workshop, average number of correct answers was 6.6 out of 15.
- After the workshop, average number of correct answers was 10 out of 15.
It has improved my skills of teaching astronomical topics in Science – feedback by a teacher
Students performance improved in the post session tests right after the club activities. Follow up evaluations done later (2-6 months later) showed a dip in some cases – in 3 schools, the follow up test performance was between the pre-session and post-session score, in 1 school the follow up performance was better than the post-session score, while in 2 schools they were worse than the pre-session performance.