Exoplanets in the classroom

The Exoplanets in the classroom project aims to create educational resources (in French for now) for elementary and secondary school personnel in Quebec on exoplanets and the search for life elsewhere in the Universe, topics in which iREx researchers are world leaders.

This project, which will last two years from February 2021 to January 2023, is led by the Institute for Research on exoplanets at the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of the Université de Montréal in collaboration with several partners, and is funded by the NovaScience program of the ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation.

Thanks to this project, the school community will be well equipped to introduce cutting-edge subjects to Quebec children and teenagers, arousing their natural curiosity for big questions such as: “Are we alone in the Universe? and “Is the Earth unique?

By exploring these particularly exciting questions in a dynamic and accessible way, this project promises to stimulate the interest of school staff and students in astronomy and science in general. It is rooted in the Quebec school curriculum, deepens learning, and connects young people to Quebec scientists.

Project progress
Since February 2021, we have completed several important steps, including:

  • the creation of a teacher community on Facebook, where we are discussing several aspects of the project with school staff members,
  • the organisation of a first series of co-creation workshops in the spring of 2021 with about 30 school staff members (elementary and secondary teachers, pedagogical advisors), to better understand the needs and expectations of the community
  • the writing of the first draft of activities for elementary and secondary schools during the summer of 2021
  • the organisation of a second series of co-creation workshops at the beginning of the 2021 school year with a dozen elementary and secondary school teachers to continue the creation of the activities
  • the large-scale deployment of our first activity of the elementary school kit between November 2021 and January 2022, thanks to our partner À la découverte de l’univers
  • the testing of three of the other activities of the elementary school kit with dozens of classes in Quebec between January and June 2022, through three activities presented by École en réseau,
  • the design of four short and simple activities for the high school kit, better suited to the reality of school personnel, as formulated during the second series of co-creation workshops,
  • the organisation of a third series of co-creation workshops in the summer of 2022, to work specifically on the materials developed for the high school level,
  • and, starting in May 2022, the development of three new videos, to be added in the Fall to the already published ExoBites series, to be used for elementary and secondary school.

Coming soon, the launch of the website that will host all the resources!

Get involved in resource development

If you are a member of the school staff (elementary and secondary school teachers, pedagogical advisors, guidance counsellors, TTPs, etc.) in Quebec, it is still possible to get involved in this project!

There are many ways to get involved, such as testing an activity in your classroom, joining our community on Facebook to participate in discussions, or simply talking about our project with your colleagues.

Fill out the form at https://bit.ly/exoplanetes_ecole_interet to express your interest.

About the Institute for Research on Exoplanets

The Institute for Research on Exoplanets, created in 2014, brings together a team of more than 50 professors, researchers and students from four Quebec universities and the Montreal Rio Tinto Alcan Planetarium, working on the study of exoplanets, planets that orbit stars other than the Sun. The Institute is also actively involved in science education and outreach, organising and participating in numerous initiatives aimed at various audiences.

About our partners

The Exoplanets in the classroom project is led by the Institute for Research on Exoplanets in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of the Université de Montréal, and involves several partners:

An elementary school, École Gadbois in Montreal, and a high school, Polyvalente de Black Lake in Thetford Mines, are also partners in this project, to which dozens of school personnel from across the province contribute.

About the NovaScience program

The ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation‘s NovaScience program aims to promote a greater understanding of science and technology among youth and the general public, as well as the training of a new generation of scientists.

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