Astrolab is a tutorial, based on telescopic observations, to learn how to do science and discover that science can be challenging, interesting and manageable. This tutorial has been developed primarily for undergraduate science students in order to emphasize the nature of science with the interdisciplinary nature of astronomy, and its natural links with technology and instrumentation. In doing Astrolab, students in sciences plan and perform real-time observations with a LCO 40cm telescope, and transform those observations into a scientific result. It is a learning-by-doing tutorial to acquire research competences and to understand the complexity of practical work.
The access to a telescope is the key point for this programme which has as main characteristics: - introducing students to the scientific research method, - enhancing interest in science studies, - obtaining active involvement in the “learning”. Astrolab is primarily for undergraduate students to teach them: - understanding the complexity and ambiguity of empirical work, - developing teamwork abilities, - developing practical skills, - defending their results in written and oral form, - developing critical thinking.
A report from one Kenyan student on their project to study eclipsing binary stars.