Sunday Times 08.03.09

(Sunday, March 8, 2009)

Astronomy-related activities, competitions

The International Astronomical Union and UNESCO are currently organising the International Year of Astronomy 2009 - a global celebration of astronomy and its contribution to scientific development and cultural enrichment. During the year,

136 countries including Malta are holding a gammut of events for students, both young and adolescent to present science as a joyful experience, full of creativity and innovation, and to popularise science within society.

Astronomy can be easily integrated into lessons on subjects such as natural science, maths, physics, chemistry and geography. Moreover a deeper thinking of astronomy can help students reflect on the more philosophical and social aspects of life.

In Malta over the next three months, seminars, workshops and exhibitions are being planned by the International Year of Astronomy and Science Education Malta committee, and students are being invited to participate in competitions divided into several categories.

Primary school children aged seven to 11 (category A) are inviting students to present drawings and works of art related to astronomy.

Early secondary school students aged 12 to 13 (Category B) and secondary school students aged 14 to 16 (Category C) are invited to use their IT skills to create a Powerpoint presentation illustrating astronomy through an interdisciplinary approach. Post-secondary students (Category D) are invited to submit photos related to astronomy. Leonard Ellul Mercer, an amateur in astrophotography, will be presenting his works in the various colleges around the island in order to assist students.

As a climax to the activities, a Russian cosmonaut will visit Malta to share her professional experience with students and teachers and distribute prizes to the winners. The visit has been arranged with the assistance of Sergey Medvedev director of the Russian Centre for Culture and Science. Education Minister Dolores Cristina is also supporting these activities.

For more information contact members of the IYA 2009 Malta committee Gaetano Bugeja on e-mail gaetano.bugeja@gov.mt or Chris Schembri on audschembri@nextgen.net.mt, or log on the website:

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