June 2, 2020 update

Due to the ongoing situation and travel restrictions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Hands-on Innovation and Inclusion with Astronomy@My BackPack is officially canceled. We are sorry for the inconvenience.

For reference, the original announcement is listed below.

July 26th to August 1st 2020| Cascais, Portugal

This course is organised in the framework of teacher training activities of the European School Innovation Academy.

Cascais Bay. Credits: C. Santos.

We decided to bring back our course Astronomy@myBackPack with a new flavour. We are mixing science and arts with innovative and inclusive methods for learning. The course will introduce the participants to a series of interesting hands-on tools and resources to bring astronomy and space exploration to the classroom.

The course will include activities performed with daily materials (Solar System distances, phases and seasons in celestial bodies, constellations and more). It will also include a series of interesting digital tools to spice up the delivery of curriculum content such as: planetarium software, graphic design tools, image processing software and more.

The course will also bring special cultural and social activities, as for instance a visit to the Dark Skies Alqueva (the first Starlight Tourism Destination in the World for Night Sky Observing) with a very promising observing night with telescopes, a visit to the Cromeleque dos Almendres (a stone circle build 7000 year ago), a taste of the gastronomy of Portugal and much more.

Monsaraz, Alqueva. Image: Public Domain.
Cromeleque dos Almendres. Credits: João Carvalho.

Participants will have the opportunity to interact with scientists, science educators, amateur astronomers, artists and with colleagues from various countries and go back home with a series of ideas to implement projects with their students where STEAM, innovation and inclusion are the main ingredients.

Who can apply?

The course is open to teachers of all grade levels and subject domains willing to innovate, embed STEAM in their classes and learn how to create an inclusive environment. We believe that learning improves when students are embedded in interdisciplinary experiences, arts and in environments that seamlessly integrate horizontal (across subject domains) and vertical (across different grade levels) articulation.

Furthermore, we believe that through an inclusive learning experience, boys and girls alike become less held back by social standards and discover their personal tastes and skills more easily. Through this course, teachers will learn how to integrate arts in any given subject, how to prepare inclusive clearing experiences and how to promote student’s fundamental key skills. All of this through the subject Astronomy in a venue that is certified as a natural dark skies reserve.

A minimum of 10 participants is required for the course to take place. 

Preliminary Programme Topics

  • What is STEAM and its value
  • How to integrate STEAM in any subject domain – Personal Geography
  • Painting planets workshop: showcase of an effective STEAM approach
  • What is inclusion and why it matters
  • How to shift your classes to become more inclusive
  • Learning methodologies towards 21st century skills: inquiry and project based learning, interdisciplinary learning, design thinking, etc.
  • Science communication in the classroom (flip the classroom with your own tutorials and videos)
  • Assessment with modern digital tools
  • Visit to stone circles (Cromeleque dos Almendres)
  • Visit to the Dark Skies Reserve
Cascais – Santa Marta Lighthouse. Credits: José Nunes


The training will be held partially in Cascais (Lisbon) and partially in Alqueva. More detailed information will be presented soon.

Practical Information

More information coming soon (a list of suggested hotels will be found here).

Fees & Funding

The course fee is 70€/day and covers:

  • Participation in all seminars and workshops
  • Coffee Breaks
  • Welcome Cocktail
  • All necessary materials
  • Post workshop support
  • Visit to the Cromeleque dos Almendres
  • Visit to Dark Skies Reserve including a Night Sky Observing Session (Meals and Lodging at the Dark Skies Reserve have to be covered by each participant)

Participants coming from the European Union can benefit from funding coming from the Erasmus+ mobility funds. These funds provide individual support for the participants covering their course fees, travel, subsistence, and accommodation. For more information on the eligibility of your country please consult the list here. Information on how to apply can be found here.


In order to secure your slot in the training please complete the online application form
Deadline for applications May 31st

Apply Here!!!



A partner course to the European School Innovation Academy


Ana Costa (e-mail)