More than 60 children between the age of 5 to 13 years old participated in the first UNAWE workshop in Iceland, the weekend of March 7th and 8th. The workshop was held by members of the Amateur Astronomical Society of Seltjarnarness. The children came with their parents who looked just as enthusiast and excited as their children. At least they asked just as many questions.
In the workshop, the participants learned about the wonders of the Universe in a new way. The children learned about crater formation by making a heavy object fall into a box full of wheat and cocoa. When it happens, the wheat makes a lovely ejecta that can be used as an analog for the crater ejecta on the Moon. All the participants also visited a portable planetarium to learn about the night sky.
The children and their parents also learned about the phases of the Moon and why we can only see the same side of it. Of course, everyone participated in that as well. A scale model of the Earth-Moon system and the Solar System as whole was laid out; even a scale model of our own Milky Way and Andromeda was made where dinner plates represented each galaxy. Of course, we had them collide.
In the end, the question ,,What happens if you fall into a black hole?” was raised and answered with a good help from Homer Simpson.
The workshop ended with a stargazing evening where the children brought their own telescopes (if they had one, otherwise they looked through others) to view the Moon, Venus, Saturn, the Andromeda galaxy and the Great Orion Nebula. Members of the amateur society taught everyone the basics of stargazing and helped those who own telescopes how to use it.
The workshop was a huge success and will be held again later this year. It even got featured in the Icelandic evening television news and also in the most widespread newspaper.
Finally, for at least one evening, more than 60 Icelandic children pointed their own telescopes to the heavens, turning into little Galileo’s discovering the universe. Their parents as well.
|The workshop was featured in the evening news of the Icelandic National Broadcasting Service which is watched by more than 70% of the Icelandic population.|
- More images from the workshop can be found on Flickr.
- More images from Oskar Torfi Viggósson can be found here.
- Saevar Helgi Bragason