- Definition of global goals in astronomy education to be applied in school curricula worldwide.
- Develop new and up-to-date astronomy content and resources for astronomy education.
- Show the importance of astronomy to society.
- Creation of a framework for recommendations on governmental education policies.
The outcomes of this project are intended to be used by the astronomy education and science communication global community.
Astronomy Literacy is a project led by Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço (IA) and Leiden Observatory, Leiden University (the Netherlands), with numerous collaborators and contributors from all around the world.
This project aims to define global goals in astronomy education to be applied in school curricula worldwide. It also contemplates the development of new resources for astronomy education and provide a framework for recommendations on governmental education policies
One of the outcomes of this project is the first global Astronomy Literacy document, “Big Ideas in Astronomy: A Proposed Definition of Astronomy Literacy” which was announced on the 3rd of May 2019 by the International Astronomical Union (IAU). It was produced within the framework of the IAU Commission C1 for Astronomy Education and Development, in particular, the Working Group on Literacy and Curriculum Development, in alignment with the IAU’s strategy to foster the use of astronomy in teaching and education at school level.
This document raises the question: “What should citizens, anywhere on the planet, know about astronomy?”. It presents eleven “big ideas”, such as “We are all made of stardust”, or “We may not be alone in the Universe”, each of them structured in seven to ten supporting concepts. Its 65 pages cover a wide range of aspects of astronomy, from history to technology, from theory to observations, and also the social and philosophical dimensions, all anchored to topics that stretch from the Earth to the edge of the Cosmos.
This is an open document that draws a roadmap to the Astronomy Literacy goals. It is intended for use by the astronomy education and outreach community, but also to evolve with their contributions. For this reason, the document is published under a Creative Commons licence that allows anyone to share and adapt it, as long as appropriate credit is given. The latest editable (Google Document and Adobe InDesign) and non-editable (PDF) files are available online.
The next step is the further development of this document, by undertaking a research project to systematically validate this document as an accurate representation of what experts think as astronomy literacy. In parallel to this, we will be working on:
- Curriculum development aligned with these Big Ideas
- Development of assessment tools for the Big Ideas
- Educational materials guides
- Teacher professional development materials
- Educational policy-reports
- Translation of materials and resources to other languages
Instituto de Astrofísica e Ciências do Espaço and Leiden Observatory, Leiden University (the Netherlands).