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Galileo Teacher Training Program Armenian website
Galileo Teacher Training Program (GTTP) started in 2009 and was one of the International Year of Astronomy 2009 (IYA-2009) cornerstone projects aiming at creation of a worldwide network of certified “Galileo Ambassadors” and "Galileo Teachers". GTTP successfully continues after IYA-2009 in frame of the project Beyond IYA-2009 and is now an official educational program of the International Astronomical Union (IAU) and part of the "IAU Decadal Strategic Plan” in 2010-2020.
Galileo Ambassadors are equipped to train other teachers in these methodologies, leveraging the work begun during IYA2009 in classrooms everywhere.
Galileo Teachers receive training in the effective use and transfer of astronomy education tools and resources into classroom science curricula and disseminate this knowledge among their peers.
Through workshops, online training tools and basic education kits, the products and techniques developed by this programme can be adapted to reach locations with few resources of their own, as well as computer-connected areas that can take advantage of access to robotic optical and radio telescopes, webcams, astronomy exercises, cross-disciplinary resources, image processing and digital universes (web and desktop planetariums).
Astronomy teaching at schools in Armenia
Till 2008-2009 astronomy in Armenian schools was taught only at the 10th (graduation) form and only 1 hour weekly. The program was followed according to S. Nersisyan’s textbook and consisted of the following chapters: 1) Starry sky, 2) Structure of the Solar system, 3) Solar system bodies and their physical nature, 4) Sun and stars, 5) Structure and evolution of the Universe, 6) Achievements of the Armenian astronomy, and 7) Auxiliary tables.
In 2009-2010, Astronomy was subtracted from the school program as a separate subject. In the new (12-year education) program for the moment it was included as a part of physics only in the 9th form textbook with 17 hours course. It involves the simplest astronomical understanding and has the following topics:
1. Astronomy and its sections
2. Geocentric and Heliocentric systems of the world
3. Observations form the basis of astronomy
5. Methods of study of astronomy
6. Measurements of stellar distances
8. Structure and sizes of the Universe
11. Lunar and Solar eclipses
12. Planets and moons
15. Giant planets
16. Dwarf planets
17. Life and intelligence in the Universe
In addition, at some special schools, e.g. at the Al. Shahinyan phys-math school attached to the Yerevan State University (YSU), “Qauntum” lyceum, Anania Shirakatsi school, etc., for development of astronomy and dissemination of astronomical knowledge at pupils, promotion of international contacts in astronomy, with a goal of education, as well as for possibly best appearance at international Olympiads, beside the astronomical teaching, special ex-classroom astronomical groups were organized, where the children get deeper knowledge. This knowledge becomes stronger by solving theoretical and practical problems, as well as observations at the Byurakan Astrophysical Observatory (BAO) are being carried out. The pupils learn using such observational programs as Stellarium, Star Calc, Cybersky, SkyMap Pro, etc. It is joyful that also pupils themselves write programs. For example, software related to Messier objects has been written.
Thus, new methods in education are being applied and developed: using projectors, telescopes, astronomical software, videos/movies, practical exercises, outdoor activities, etc.
Pupils attending astronomical group are also getting acquainted to important works by professional astronomers at BAO and to real conditions. Their attention is especially being invited to modern problems of astronomy. During the recent years, these teenagers also actively participate in courses of the Byurakan International Summer Schools, where leading scientists from different world astronomical centres teach.
Each year Armenian National Astronomical Olympiads are being organized in Armenia; pre-selction competitions are being organized at schools and regional centres and the final stage is being held in Byurakan, There is a special jury consisting mainly of the Byurakan scientists that judges the results and announces the winners. The winners participate in the International Astronomical Olympiads (IAO) organized by the Euro-Asian Astronomical Society (EAAS).
Textbooks used for teaching astronomy at schools in Armenia (in original languages):
Кононович, Мороз – Общий курс астрономии // Москва, 2004.
Chaisson, McMillan – Astronomy Today // New Jersey, 1998.
H. Karttunen – Fundamental Astronomy // Springer-Verlag, Berlin - Heidelberg - New York, 1996.
Don Maoz – Astrophysics in a Nutshell // Princeton University Press, 2007.
Р.А. Сюнаев (ред.) – Физика Космоса (маленькая энциклопедия) // Москва, 1986.
B. Argly (ed.) – Observing and measuring visual double stars // Waterbach, Cambridgeshire, 2003.
В.В. Иванов, А.В. Кривов, П.А. Денисенков – Парадоксальная Вселенная. 250 задач по астрономии // Санкт-Петербург, 2001.
Б. Воронцов-Веляминов – Сборник задач и практических упражнений по астрономии // Москва.
Д. Мартынов – Сборник задач по астрофизики // Москва.
М.М. Дагаев - Сборник задач по астрономии // Москва, 1980.
В.Г. Сурдин – Астрономические олимпиады // Москва, 1995.
М.Г. Гаврилов – Задачи. IV // Москва, 1998.
In addition, various Internet websites with useful astronomical information are being offered to pupils to update their knowledge and learn how astronomy is being done at the international level.
The Armenian Astronomical Society (ArAS) has produced a DVD called “Astronomy for students”, where a lot of useful astronomical information, textbooks, review papers, software, photos, Internet links, etc. have been included. Though it is intended mainly for the University students, anyway it will be distributed to the abovementioned special schools to facilitate the teaching for those pupils who aims at becoming professional astronomers.
GTTP Activities in Armenia
A training workshop for school teachers to teach modern astronomical educational methods was organized at Yerevan Physical-Mathematical school with a short visit to Byurakan. 30 teachers participated. It included using projectors, small telescopes, astronomical software, videos/movies, practical exercises, outdoor activities, etc. for education. A special emphasis was made on using modern Internet websites for teaching to have permanent update of the knowledge and information.
A teacher training workshops is planned for July at the Yerevan Physical-Mathematical school. Some 30 teachers will participate. A proposal to GTTP is being prepared. GTTP certificates will be awarded to Galileo teachers.
Marietta Gyulzadian (GTTP Official Point of Contact in Armenia)
Areg Mickaelian (Armenian Coordinator of IYA-2009 and Beyond-IYA)
Haik Harutyunian (IAU Commission #46 National Liaison in Armenia)
Related international organizations
Other related IYA-2009 projects