Limpopo Astronomy Outreach (2009 Jul 14-15)
by Kos Coronaios
Limpopo Astronomy Outreach visited Ridgeway College on the 14th and 15th July. The college, identified as an ideal candidate for the Sumbandila project as it is a small school with a good ethnic and cultural mix among learners and an ethos, tradition and capacity for seeing each learner as an individual was an ideal venue for the Limpopo Astronomy Outreach Project to visit during the course of IYA 2009. The Sumbandila Trust in partnership with Marwyn Investments London and Study Trust South Africa is a non-profit organisation in the field of secondary education.
Hidden in the rural villages of Limpopo are the children who do not have the opportunity or the way forward in some of those under resourced schools for a decent education. These children with limited experience of life outside their villages and narrow confines of their society are bright enough to know there's another world if only they can get there. The Sumbandila Trust seeks out some of the brightest and most determined of these children as they complete primary school and offers them full bursaries at good schools for their entire secondary education, in the first tier. The second tier consists of those applicants for bursaries who progressed as far as the final phase of the selection process but did not quite make it. These children are assisted in applying for bursaries and if successful a Study Trust Bursary will pay for students to attend one of the better schools in the area, assisting with school fees, transport costs and the purchase of books and stationary.
The two evenings consisted of an astronomy display with posters showing the Solar System, Planets, Stellar Birth and Our Place in the universe. Activities the kids participated in was building a MoonScope, Southern Star Wheel and pacing out a scaled down version of our solar system showing the Sun and planets. We ran out of space for the eighth one!
The view through the telescope of Saturn was accompanied by lots of delighted exclamations and at around 200 times magnification I certainly had one of the best views of the planet during the course of the year. A few of the constellations and mythology were discussed and as always the laser pointer was a hit. The constellations Scorpius and Sagittarius had everyone looking sky-wards as I explained the mythology surrounding them. Projections on the big screen included clips of how our Moon was formed and sizes of planets and stars. A total of 50 children participated in the two evenings with a few of the school's teachers joining in.
One further evening is planned for the kids who have a full bursary from the Sumbandila Trust, date to be confirmed by the College.
nothing more to see. please move along.