FM20p.07 — Exploring new possibilities of astronomy education and outreach

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Aug 10th at 6:00 PM until 7:30 PM

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Author(s): Kodai Fukushima1

Institution(s): 1. Hosei University

I investigate the influences of astronomy education and outreach activities on people in order to explore their potential benefits and contribution to society. This research is based on the astronomy education lessons I gave to 287 senior high school and junior high school students in Cambodia in November 2013. Before and after my lesson, I asked them to answer my questionnaires in Khmer, where they could also write free descriptions. Sentences in their free descriptions translated into Japanese are analyzed by means of a text mining method. By converting text data to various numbers using a text mining method, it is possible for us to do statistical analysis. I counted the number of question sentences and computed their rate with respect to the total number of sentences. The rate of question sentences in 9th and 12th grade students are 39% and 9%, respectively. This shows 9th grade students wonder why and how more frequently and appear to be more stimulated in their curiosity than 12th grade students. I counted the frequency of words in the free descriptions and examined high frequency words, to take a broad view of the characteristics of free description. The word ''world'' is the fourth highest frequency word among 369 words following the three words, ''the universe'', ''the earth'', and ''a star'', which frequently appear in the lesson in astronomy. The most sentences including the word “world” described amazement at the existence of so vast unknown world outside of what they had known until then. The frequency of sentences including the word ''world'' of 12th grade students is much higher (45%) than that (18%) of 9th grade students. A significant fraction of 12th grade students appears to have had a strong impact and changed their views of the world. It is found that my lesson and related activities inspired intellectual curiosity in many students, especially in 9th grade students. It is also found that a significant fraction of 12th grade students appear to have had a strong impact and changed their views of the world. I conclude that astronomy education and outreach activities have a potential to contribute to Cambodian development.