09.03.2017 - UNESCO Venice Office

Eratosthenes Experiment 2017 : Register your school to calculate the circumference of the Earth!

Eratosthenes Experiment

The Eratosthenes Experiment is organised with support from the European Commission in the context of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7), the Portuguese National Commission for UNESCO, Inspiring SCIENCE education, and with the participation of the UNESCO Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe in the context of the Ark of Inquiry project. Schools, teachers and pupils are invited to join the next Eratosthenes Experiment will take place in spring on 21 March 2017, on the vernal equinox day. It is a global experiment that replicates the Greek mathematician and geographer Eratosthenes’ investigation to determine the circumference of the Earth.

Eratosthenes, the Greek mathematician, geographer, poet astronomer and music theorist (c. 276 BC – c. 195/194 BC) is best known for being the first person to calculate the circumference of the Earth, which he did by applying a measuring system using stadia, a standard unit of measure during his time. His calculation was extraordinarily accurate. He was also the first to calculate the tilt of the Earth's axis with again remarkable accuracy. Eratosthenes used this information to create the first map of the world, incorporating parallels and meridians based on the available geographic knowledge of his era.

The last Eratosthenes Experiment was held on 22 September 2016, on the autumnal equinox day, saw the participation of over 1,100 schools from around the world. Thirty-eight countries were represented of which 27 from the European and South-European region (Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Croatia,  Cyprus, Estonia, Finland, France,Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland,  Italy, Latvia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Spain, Switzerland, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Turkey, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ukraine). The next Eratosthenes Experiment will take place in spring on 21 March 2017, the day after the vernal equinox.

Schools across the globe will be able to participate in this fascinating international inquiry activity by registering on the Ark of Inquiry portal to the Eratosthenes activity. Detailed information is available in both English and Italian . Once registered with the data on the school’s longitude and latitude, teachers, the organizing team will put the school in touch with another one from the same longitude. Together with the partner school, each classroom will record data, collaborate, calculate the circumference of the Earth and submit the data, allowing the chance for pupils to engage in a scientific experiment at an international level.

The UNESCO Regional Bureau in Venice will share information in Italian on this activity through the Ark of Inquiry portal and Italian educator networks. Teachers who take part in this global experiment will stand a chance to win a scholarship to attend the Ark of Inquiry Summer School 2017 to be held on 9-14 July 2017 in  Attica, Greece, hosted by the European Science Education Academy (ESEA). To compete, teachers should take a photo of their classroom experiment and submit it by 14 April 2017 along with the requisite data as explained here.

Organizers have recently upgraded the Eratosthenes Experiment official website; now teachers can create their accounts and use it to register their school, submit & store their experiment data to compare them with future data, and upload photos from the experiment to the gallery of Eratosthenes website photos.

For more information on the Eratosthenes Experiment : http://eratosthenes.ea.gr/context of the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7).

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“Ark of Inquiry: Inquiry Awards for Youth over Europe” is a research and development project on teacher training, oriented towards raising science awareness, particularly that of youth aged 7 to 18, to Responsible Research and Innovation (RRI). Funded by the European Commission and involving 13 project partners from 12 countries, the project started in 2014 and has a duration of 4 years.

UNESCO with the support of its Regional Bureau for Science and Culture in Europe, Venice (Italy), is involved in a large number of Work Packages (WP). It is leader of WP7 (Dissemination), and it plays a contributing role to WP2 (Collection of inquiry activities and environments), WP3 (Supporting community), WP4 (Training), WP5 (Evaluation) and WP6 (Implementation).

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