Training teachers not only gives the opportunity for the teacher to learn new skills, but also make new collaborations and to be inspired for new endeavours. Carlos Morales Socorro is a mathematics teacher at the IES El Calero in Spain and took part in the “Adventure in the Canary Islands” teacher training course organised by IAC TENERIFE and NUCLIO. Carlos designed a project called ‘My First Discovery’ to able the students learn and apply mathematical elements of different blocks of contents within STEM and to complete the process oriented towards making a scientific discovery.

Two groups of students at the El Calero Institute of Secondary Education took part in the project. Together with their teacher, Carlos, the students have discovered two new eclipsing binary systems using observations made with the CNL1 telescope at the Observatory of the Astronomical Group of Gran Canaria, and two 40 cm telescopes of the Las Cumbres Observatory Global Telescope (LCOGT) Network. The two systems discovered are towards the constellation of Andromeda and they are eclipsing contact binaries, pairs of stars which orbit around a common centre of mass, and which are so close together that they are effectively in contact, and share an outer layer of gas.
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Animation of a contact binary system: