Destination Moon is an educational project for schools of INAF OAS, in collaboration with the Cinematheque of Bologna.
In the school year 2019/2020, on the 50th anniversary of the first human exploration of the Moon, we have systematized and redesigned a few activities about the Moon, while mixing them with a picture book and the projection of short films in the theater. As a source of inspiration for writers, artists, film-makers, the Moon still bewitches spectators and readers of all ages, and is the protagonist of incredible stories.
In 2019, the year of the fiftieth anniversary of the Moon landing, “Screens and Blackboards” [Schermi e Lavagne] – the Education Department of the Cinematheque of Bologna, and the National Institute of Astrophysics – Observatory of Astrophysics and Space Science of Bologna, explored possible synergies, by initiating the project: “Destination: Moon”, targeting children and teenagers through several paths, calling for an active interest for science topics in general, soliciting a scientific citizenship, and demystifying the figure of the scientist. Among these paths, cinema is the glue which holds everything together, an opportunity to look from different viewpoints both at the Moon and at the worlds which Science opens up to us.
Just through these different looks, we create a puzzle, where we find a space for Astrophysics, poetry, and human exploration. With ”Destination: Moon”, we have chosen to meet different types of audience, while creating new chances inside well-established didactic paths.
Three different moments of “Destination Moon: kids”: the picture book, the observation with the Lunatario, and the theater
For secondary schools pupils, we focused upon watching and analyzing the film “First Man” by Damien Chazelle (2018), in particular upon Neil Armstrong, in order to reflect on the theme of human exploration. During these meetings, an astrophysicist commented on the film, together with the boys and girls, while gathering and stimulating their curiosity upon the developments of scientific and technological knowledge, as well as projects for the exploration of our Solar System.
For children from 6 years and up, and their families, we organized special appointments of the cineclub “Schermi e Lavagne” to films about the Moon and the Space: from September until May, we met about 400 young spectators. Here too, the film was accompanied by an introduction – made by the National Institute of Astrophysics, or by a laboratory on the same theme.
For very small children, we organized a series of matinées and two appointments at the “Cinnoteca”, the space of the Cinematheque dedicated to small cinephiles and their families, and focussing upon a guided view of short cartoons.
“Destination: Moon – KIDS” was a laboratory addressed to nursery schools: From January until April, we managed to reach about 12 schools around Bologna, thus meeting over 300 children between 3 and 5 years of age. The twofold objective of our didactic experiment was to accompany children in the guided observation of the object-Moon, and stimulate their curiosity about Astrophysics, as well as ignite their imagination by watching short films about the Moon as the destination of phantastic trips, as an object to catch, as a mystery to be solved. By taking into account the cognitive development of children in the reference age group, as well as the logistical constraints, we thought it appropriate to structure the laboratory in a single two-hour meeting for each class, organized in three steps: first of all, a section devoted to the collective reading of an illustrated book, followed by the observation of the Moon and of its phases through the “lunatario”, and finally the experience of the movie theatre.
This project is continuing as a pilot in the “Istituto Comprensivo 12” of Bologna, with a few setbacks because of Covid-19.
Here is a list of support materials, already developed and searchable:
Destination Moon: a booklet for both educators and parents
files to be printed in 3d
and here you can find the teaching activities which we planned and tested:
preliminary activity to the “lunatario” for kindergarden (Teresa Lanzano)
Translation of this resource by Giuliana Giobbi INAF OAR