International C-Link Between Primary School Classes Based On Astronomy

On 13th February, a 1-hour virtual link-up based on astronomy took place between primary schools in Armenia, Ethiopia, Ireland, the Netherlands and Nigeria. The contact was a “try-out” organized by the International Astronomical Union European Regional Office of Astronomy for Development (E-ROAD) at Leiden University. The eventual goal of the programme is to bring together young children from as many countries as possible, at ages of 6 to 9 years, when their value systems are just beginning to form. Encouraging young children to discuss the wonder and perspective of the Universe and the place of our tiny planet within it, is a unique way of stimulating a feeling of global togetherness and illustrating the need to protect the earth from the many common threats that we all face. The school classes in each of the 5 countries prepared something related to the astronomy theme (e. g. a painting, song or game) and shared it with the other children over the Internet.

The C-Link programme is being set up in memory of Dr. Carolina  Ödman, who died in November 2022 at the age of 48. She spent several years at Leiden University building up Universe Awareness for young children, an activity that reached more than 50 countries.

As a follow-up, the E-ROAD is exploring the setting up of a C-Link global website, through which a primary-school teacher anywhere in the world can make a class-twinning arrangement with a colleague from a school in another country based on C-Link themes. The site would also give primary school teachers access to a multilingual “Ask the Astronomer” service, consisting of volunteer astronomers from all over the world.

The E-ROAD is a collaboration between Leiden University and the European Astronomical Society and is one of 11 regional offices, affiliated to the International Astronomical Office of Astronomy for Development, headquartered in South Africa and financed by the South African government. It receives support from the Netherlands Research School for Astronomy (NOVA).