AstroQuiz is a competition aimed at Grade 7 learners based on themes around astronomy.
The project is funded, coordinated and managed by SAASTA. Project resources for the participants are gathered and produced with the assistance of the participating centres as well as astronomy community members.
SAASTA invites selected centres to participate in the project. Each participating centre is responsible for implementing the project up to the finals, and to liaise with their local Department of Education and schools.
Even if your school is not participating in this quiz, you can download the booklet Your Guide to the Universe and learn about the fascinating astronomy topics.
The project aims to improve teaching and learning of basic astronomy in primary schools. The objectives of the project are:
- To contribute to the improvement of awareness, interest, understanding and insight into basic astronomy;
- To build appreciation of and pride in South Africa’s history of astronomical activity and achievements, and current projects;
- To record and celebrate the participation of women in astronomy so as to foster interest in girl learners of career opportunities in astronomy.
Each participating centre works with their local education department office to identify and select participating schools. A recommended number of 30 schools per centre was set for the first project, but centres are encouraged to involve greater participation with the assistance of their departments of education. A significant number (75%) of the selected schools should be from disadvantaged communities. Each school fields one team of four Grade 7 learners.
Each school has to designate at least one but not more than two teachers to manage the project and to act as coach for their team. The centres arrange workshops for the designated teachers to inform them of the procedure of the project.
The quiz is run as a knock-out event. Teams of four grade 7 learners per schools enter, with each participating school being allowed to field one team. Many schools run internal quizzes with teams of four learners competing to be the team that eventually represents their school in the inter-schools quiz.
Each leg of the quiz involves school teams competing to answer a set of 30 questions. All schools answer the same questions. Half of the competing schools are knocked out in each leg. Eventually, one school is selected at each centre as their finalist for the national finals event.
The resource pack
The resource pack consists of a collection of learning material from which the questions posed during the quiz are drawn. The booklet Your Guide to the Universe forms the main component of the resource pack.
The resource pack aims to provide a competent teaching and learning resource that can be used for general purposes and not just as a resource for participating in the astronomy quiz. Astronomy is not a familiar topic for many teachers and the pack serves as a good platform for curriculum delivery and to promote astronomy awareness.
Additional resources such as printed posters are also provided by SAASTA.
Support resources for centres:
- A planning check list for each leg
- Scoring sheets for the various rounds
- Question and answer sheets for the first leg
- PowerPoint presentations of each round of questions for each leg after the first
- A pro forma Certificate of Participation, emailed to participating centres to brand with their own logos.
The quiz process
The quiz takes on the format of a number of multiple choice questions where teams have to simultaneously answer between four possible responses. For the first leg of the quiz, when it is not feasible with the large number of teams participating, the format involves a question paper with written responses.
Each leg of the quiz involves 30 questions with an additional five on top of this in order to cope with tie breaks. The questions are mostly drawn from the resource pack, with a small number of general knowledge questions thrown in. A fixed time limit is allowed for each multiple choice question.
The National Finals, which are held at the different venues are organised by SAASTA. The quiz format, in which one team from each participating province competes, is the same as for the previous rounds, but with the following changes:
- After each set of 10 questions scores are calculated and announced
- There are questions for the audience (optional)
- In the event of a tie, either for first or second place, the tying teams answer questions and are knocked out by ‘sudden death’.