Brazil, Bolivia: The BraBo Expedition

 

Building on the success of the pilot expedition in the the Bolivian Amazon in 2012, GalileoMobile decided to organize an extended expedition to the Amazon region - from July 21st to August 25th - which will bring GalileoMobile to the Bolivian Department of Pando and the neighbouring Brazilian states of Acre and Rondonia, for a total duration of five weeks. This expedition, named BraBo, will benefit from the resources developed by the team during the IYA2009 in South America and the network of local contacts established during the previous visit to the Pando district in 2012.

The choice of this region as the destination of the next GalileoMobile project was not only driven by practical purposes: the incredibly rich Astronomical culture of indigenous communities in the Amazon region offers a unique opportunity for cultural exchange, making Astronomy a fundamental thematic axis on which to develop an important dialogue between different traditions and worldviews.

The planned itinerary is shown below and covers a total distance of roughly 1600 km. We plan to visit about 12 schools, reaching over 1,500 students and 100 local teachers.  In addition, over 600 educators will be trained in dedicated Teacher Training Workshops.

 
 

Projected roadmap for the BraBo expedition around the Amazonas region between Bolivia and Brazil

 

GalileoMobile will perform a two-day program of activities at each school. On the first day, prior to the beginning of the activities, the GalileoMobile team members will give an opening talk to assess the level of the students’ knowledge of astronomy. The teachers will then be introduced to GalileoMobile Handbook of Activities and material in a small introductory session and will later be encouraged to lead the activities in their classes themselves, with the GalileoMobile team members present only for support. On the second day, we will perform another session with students from other classes and collect the feedback from the teachers.

 

In addition, we plan to host three large Teacher Training Workshops in collaboration with the GTTP project, which will allow us to reach teachers from schools which could not be included in the GalieoMobile program. These workshops will be held in Cacoal, Rio Branco (Brazil) and Cobija (Bolivia) and they consist of a one-day program including talks from local astronomers, sky-observations and instructions for hands-on activities.

 

GalileoMobile will donate telescopes, outreach material and hard-copies of our handbook of activities to the schools visited.

 

The BraBo expedition will bring two exciting novelties regarding previous expeditions:

 

  • We will visit one school for visually impaired children in each country, where we will perform astronomical activities using an astronomical tactile kit developed by the A Touch of the Universe project, one of GalileoMobile’s partners.

 

  • We will dedicate two days to meet with the undergraduate students of Natural Sciences in Rio Branco and Cruzeiro, Brazil.

 

Like previous expeditions, GalileoMobile will encourage the participation of local communities, which will be invited to take part in night-sky observations and documentary screenings. These activities will both be held in a public place, normally at the main square of the towns visited.

All activities from the BraBo expedition will be recorded in a documentary that will be freely available in 2015.  

Follow all updates from the BraBo expedition on GalileoMobile’s Blog, Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

The project was funded by the following institutions:

 

 

Acknowledgments:

  • Maria do Carmo Barcellos (Geographer specialized in the Surui and Zoro indians)
  • Cleyton Assis Loureiro de Souza (Researcher of the postgraduate program in Science, Innovation and Technology for the Amazons at UFAC)
  • Alcilene Balica Monteiro (Professor at the Federal Institute for Education, Science and Technology of Acre - IFAC)
  • Ingrid Justiano (Teacher and member of AstroPando amateur astronomy club and of the Astronomy Olympiads of Bolivia)
  • Manuel de la Torre (Archeoastronomer of the University of La Paz)
  • Maria Antonieta Rodriguez Miranda (Teacher and member of Astro-club VacaDiez)
  • Silvia Barriga (Pedagogical and technical manager, Dirección Departamental de Educación Pando)
  • Suzenir Aguiar
  • Diana Pellegrini
  • Laíde Ruiz
  • Miriam Osmídio
  • Blenda Cunha Bráulio (IF-AC)

 

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