Under the scope of its candidacy for the 14th Ilídio Pinho Foundation's “Science at School” award, and as one of the selected projects, CMSM implemented the “Planet Alert” project from January to May 2017 with the 2nd and 3rd year classes from Santa Maria School.
The project consisted of using the WASO - Write a Science Opera methodology to conceive an opera with scientific content. This was a multidisciplinary creative process, allying the arts and science in the development of the opera by the students, who were responsible for the entire creation.
The “Planet Alert” theme was aimed at inspiring the younger children to take an interest in areas related to science and technology, through the topic of Space, highlighting the relevance of space studies in their lives and stimulating their sense of being citizens of the world.
This project is based on the principles of the International Astronomical Union's strategic plan, which emphasises the role of astronomy as a unique tool for promoting sustainable global development due to its scientific, technological and cultural aspects. This is a project aimed at modernising education and incorporating innovative and multidisciplinary educational methodologies. Based on the assumption that astronomy is an interesting way to attract younger children to S&T and stimulate European and global citizenship, the main aim of the project was to inspire a new generation, highlighting the importance of creativity as a response to challenges.
The “Planet Alert” science opera is aimed at calling attention to issues related to inclusion and gender equality, showing that seen from Space, Earth has no borders and that both men and women from many different cultures have contributed to S&T down through the ages.
The opera's development process is based on an inquiry-based teaching / learning model, where students play a fundamental role in developing their own knowledge and play an active role in the research.
Multidisciplinary and holistic environments have been proven to have a greater capacity for motivating, inspiring and consolidating knowledge of science. Therefore, allying the arts to science is aimed at responding to this challenge because, by involving the students in the conception of the opera and its performance, we are also involving them in building their own knowledge.
The WASO methodology stimulates curiosity, a different way of thinking and creativity and there is a great spirit of innovation: skills that are fundamental for students to be able to understand a world that is constantly changing, innovating and competing.
The partners in this project are: Santa Maria School; NUCLIO Association - Interactive Astronomy Centre, the University of Porto's Astrophysical Centre (CAUP) / Porto Planetarium, and the Institute of Astrophysics and Space Sciences.
The opera was presented on 15 May 2017 at the Porto Planetarium.