On 9 and 10 May, the village Baykal in Dolna Mitropolia municipality, Bulgaria, hosted the 2014 edition of Astroparty aimed for physics and astronomy teachers, students at the age 12-18, amateur astronomers and public.
The first Astroparty was held in 2005 and it was organised at regional level, but this year its range has become wider, as more Astronomy clubs are formed, the party itself rouses national interest in Astronomy as a science and as an important subject to be taught in schools as well. “Astroparty contributes to the development of the regional and national policy of the Municipality of Dolna Mitropolia, the Pleven region and Bulgaria. It makes extra-curricular activities more attractive to students and makes the landmarks by the Danube riverside more popular in the region. It’s included in National calendar for extracurricular activities of Ministry of education and science” reports Ivo Jokin, Galileo Ambassador. “When taking part in the party students get more skills both in theory itself and in making watching experiments of space. They learn how to analyze and describe such experiments.”
This year’s edition presented a GTTP workshop for teachers featuring practical activities such as Galileoscope assembly, lectures on constellations, the Solar System, planets and Moon. The teachers worked first hand with portable star map, explored Moon Globe, made quadrant devices, Equatorial Sundial and many more; attended a special Solar party by watching the sun by projecting onto a screen and a special filter. Several seminars were hosted covering topics such as the 10-year plan for the development of IAU; “EAAE Summer Schools” on Astronomy activities for schools, inside and outside the classroom; GTTP on global communities, activities, and educational projects in astronomy; national and international educational programs in astronomy, sharing an environment of best teaching practices. A special “Classroom under the stars” was also presented, allocating the participants in work groups in watching sites and preparation of technical aids.
The Astroparty is organized by the Ministry of education and science, National palace of children, Regional Centre of Ministry of Education – Pleven, Municipality of Dolna Mitropolia and Municipal center for extracurricular activities – Baykal village. Astroparty Baykal is personally supported by Mrs. Polya Tsonovska, the municipality’s mayor. And partners up with Sofia University- Department of astronomy, Institute of Astronomy, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Bulgarian Astronomical Society, Public, Astronomical Association – Sofia. And other international partners such as IAU-OAD, UNAWE, Galileo Teacher Training Program (GTTP) and European Association for Astronomy Education (EAAE).
We would like to express our huge thank you to Ivo Jokin for sharing his experience with us and inspire our world with these amazing activities.