Project Objectives

The project aims at making the natural sciences more popular by re-establishing their basic principle of observation, experiment and reference to existing knowledge. All natural sciences are meant to give answers about the world, but we often forget which questions were asked in the first place. So the sciences have become abstract, often unpopular school subjects without any plausible relevance in the real world; to some degree the same can often be said about the social sciences like sociology, history, philosophy and even the arts.

Our objectives are easily available objects to investigate by observation and experiment which require and offer connection and further inquiry to reveal their full meaning. The nightly sky has always been something to raise people’s and pupils’ curiosity. There is a vague knowledge that people used it to find their way, to measure the time, to explain the world either in terms of mythology, astrology or astronomy.

Various approaches aim at connecting our topic “Stars in Europe” to the images and common knowledge of our students.

There are three major fields of activities.

The first concerns astronomy. Students make themselves familiar with observational techniques and basic concepts of astronomy, then agree on certain stars and start making observations, increasingly in a coordinated way, so they decide on specific dates (or periods of observation) and stars to set up star charts, which are exchanged among each other and used for establishing common procedure and discerning differences in the results. As this project is about cross-curricular, connected thinking and researching, there will also be investigations into the mythology behind certain constellations (e.g. Orion), their significance in early cultures (e.g. the Pleiades), the tools they were using (telescope, astrolabe, sun dials etc.) and the ends they were using their observations for (navigation, calendar, measuring periods of time).

The second field of interest is the night, its perception and the physical differences of nights in different spots, places and regions, and the significance for life, a lack or abundance of light and noise can have. This part of the project again is based on collecting data, organizing and comparing it. But here, the further investigation into and experimentation with variable features can and should evolve from students’ questions concerning the topic (do plants “sleep”, how does additional light affect them; does nocturnal wildlife seek or avoid artificial light etc.).

The third field opens into the social sciences by working with the metaphorical stars, the political, social, artistic, sportive role models, their real lives and the images in people’s minds to turn them into stars. This requires a close encounter with these stars’ biographies but also a keen look at the media that created these images. With the basic question in mind, which features redeem admiration, a catalogue of structural similarities for each country and for different periods of time is to be established. In a second phase, a comparison of the findings will offer criteria to name and better understand vague feelings of differences. Like the night, a star will look slightly different from different perspectives. Understanding these perspectives will actuate intercultural perception.

The arts will be embracing all three fields in the second year when, based on first year’s findings the topic “Stars in Europe” will be the central feature of all arts activities. All schools together are going to gather their products in an exhibition towards the end of the project.


Concrete objectives:

  • Making the natural sciences and connected thinking more popular, more prominent and more relevant for students in their daily lives. Sciences are based on looking by yourself, trying to make sense of your findings and, if possible, using them to explain something and/or solve a problem by means of your findings, so the world looks a little bit different, more understandable than before. Students will learn to appreciate their own understanding of things, relying much less on instruction and much more on their own curiosity and ingenuity.
  • Showing students that (social) sciences are not for nerds but for people who are interested in the world. By creating opportunities for discussions, demonstrations and activities, students will be encouraged to use their skills to teach others and share their knowledge.
  • Using the arts to add an additional dimension on a different level of perception and in a non-verbal way of expressing yourself and your perception.
  • Increasing the students’ language skills and competences in English. The international side of the project fosters the concept of a habitual use of English as a common, foreign language. Language is no longer seen as a school subject but as normal means of intellectual contact and cultural exchange.
  • Encouraging teachers to cooperate with colleagues from different departments and different countries they usually have little or no contact with and profit from each other’s ideas and knowledge as well as stimulating and encouraging teachers to find new, modern and interactive methods of effectively teaching sciences.
  • Increasing cross-curricular activities to motivate students and teachers into a more project-oriented approach to learning. In this way, the project can help promote school development and open up school to experiences from other schools in different countries.
  • Giving everyone the opportunity to meet new people and to get to know new cultures and traditions, which we consider a necessary part of the acceptance of diversity and the development of mutual respect.

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