Constellation follow up activities in the Amazonia

by GalileoMobile
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    $1,725 with 38 backers
    on October 09, 2016
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Raising funds to organize astronomy outreach activities with students and teachers in the Amazonia and donate material to their schools

  Outreach, Astronomy

Who we are

We are an international group of three professional astronomers (from Brazil, Portugal, Spain) and one specialist on education and anthropology, all members of the GalileoMobile project. In 2014, some of us already visited the communities of Rondônia, and established a first contact during the GalileoMobile BraBo projet, carrying on activities with over 1050 students, teachers and local people.

Throughout this year we have been remotely tutoring some of the teachers on Astronomy-related activities that they can do with their students. With this expedition we aim to give continuity to the work started in 2014, strengthen our relationship with the community and donate astronomical equipment and educational materials.

Students from the Suruí community participating of the activities

Our work

GalileoMobile is an unprecedented initiative promoting science knowledge and the interaction beyond borders through astronomy while raising awareness for the diversity of human cultures, conveying the message of “unity under the same sky”.

The goals of GalileoMobile are:

To inspire young people living in remote areas through astronomy, and to instill in them a life-long passion for learning.
To provide their teachers with the tools and knowledge required to continue running science education programmes independently for years to come.
To demonstrate to young people the power of critical thinking, so that they can apply these skills in their daily lives.
To promote cultural understanding and interaction across borders, by enabling young people from diverse communities to exchange both scientific and cultural ideas about the cosmos.

Since the project creation in 2008, GalileoMobile has organised expeditions in Chile, Bolivia and Peru (2009); Bolivia (2012); India (2012); Uganda (2013); Bolivia and Brazil (2014); Colombia (2014); Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru (2015); and extended actions in Portugal (2012, 2013), Nepal (2013), Guatemala (2013), Dominican Republic (2013), the United States (2013) and Haiti (2014) reaching over 17,000 students, teachers and general public.

Student from the rural area of Bangalore, India.

Our efforts and activities have been shared with the public in over 80 conferences and talks, including a TEDx talk. GalileoMobile also extends its impact to a worldwide audience through deliverable products. Our work is shared worldwide through the production of three documentaries, one photo-book and a wide range of Internet resources (Official Website and Blog, Facebook page,Twitter, Vimeo).

How you can help

Since early 2015, astronomers and educators from the GalileoMobile Constellation project have been in touch with teachers and students from one public school in the city of Cacoal (Brazilian Amazonia) and several Suruí public indigenous schools nearby promoting and tutoring Astronomy-related activities. During this time, however, contact was kept only through email and teleconference programs.

Now we want to bring the team to the field to meet the students in person and perform activities with them, promote workshops to the teachers and organise star parties with the local communities. We will also bring and donate new didactic material (books, posters, small telescopes) to the schools so they can use it after our visit, which is planned for the week of the 1st to the 8th of November.

We need help to buy the necessary material to perform the astronomy activities at schools as well as the donation material, and to partly fund the travel expenses (lodging and food) of a team comprised of four astronomers and educators that will work on the field for a week. Since Cacoal is a hard-to-reach location, the flight tickets are usually quite expensive. Also, the check-in of heavy astronomical material, such as telescopes or sunspotters, contributes to additional costs. GalileoMobile has some funding available, enough to cover about 50% of the total amount we would need for the whole expedition.

Why this is important

This project is a part of the GalileoMobile Constellation initiative, which has promoted Astronomy-related activities with students and teachers in several regions of South America where access to science or any kind of cultural actions is poor. The Constellation initiative has brought together schools from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru and created a South American network of schools committed to sharing the exciting world of astronomy with their teachers and students. Through the network, they were able to share their passion for the sky with peers from all across South America. These schools will benefit from the long-term support of GalileoMobile when independently organising astronomical outreach activities in the years to come.

The community of Cacoal in the Brazilian state of Rondônia, will be the last stop of GalileoMobile Constellation. The team will visit one public school and several indigenous Suruí villages from Território Sete de Setembro to perform Astronomy related activities with the students and workshops with teachers, as well as encourage a cultural exchange between different cosmovisions and pass the message that we all live under the same sky.

Students from Rondônia who are waiting for our visit!

  Budget Breakdown

Lodging and food for 4 people for 1 week: 880 USD (~31 USD per person per day)

Extra luggage to carry telescopes from Rio de Janeiro to Cacoal and back: 45 USD

Didactic material to donate and promote activities (posters, books, small telescopes): 200 USD

Inland displacement (fuel to reach indigenous communities and public transportation within the city of Cacoal): 173 USD

Flight tickets from Rio de Janeiro to Cacoal for 4 people for: to be financed by GalileoMobile

Vehicle to inland displacement: to be provided by local collaborators of Cacoal

Fiat Physica fees (8%): 102 USD

Total: 1400 USD

  Risks and Challenges

Sadly, if we do not get this funding we will not be able to carry out this expedition. The schools that are planned in our schedule have a huge number of students (about 3000). Therefore we need, at least, four people to be able to perform our hands-on activities with quality and giving the attention every student deserves.

Moreover, our program dedicates substantial time to work with teachers, since they are essential to guarantee the long-term continuation of the project. With less than 4 people, we would hardly complete this important goal. The contact with the teachers from Cacoal via internet will continue but not much more than that can happen, since there is only one professional astronomer working in the Amazon region of Brazil, a territory as large as the country of Mongolia.

It is important to stress, that the members of the GalileoMobile project act on a pure voluntary basis, being some of them students or young professionals with no possibility of covering the expenses by themselves

Despite the risks we hope to see those big smiles on every child after looking for the first time in a telescope. That is priceless!


Constellation follow up activities in the Amazonia

Raising funds to organize astronomy outreach activities with students and teachers in the Amazonia and donate material to their schools