Space is fascinating for many reasons, unfortunately learning about space is hard. Multimodal and embodied experiences, on the other hand, are a great way of supporting learning through richness of interactions. With this in mind The Astronomer is an exploration of how design can approach the science of astronomy and introduce new ways of representing it to children (12 years old and above).
The proposed result is a means to interest, excite and invite children to learn a little bit more about space and the universe in a creative, imaginative way. It is also a medium to help promote science literacy and science methods in general.
Inspiration and Method
The aim of this project was to combine interaction design practices, specifically prototyping, with the scientific knowledge of astronomy to propose interventions for introducing children to some of the abstract problems in astronomy. This approach relates to explorations of how design might approach scientific disciplines to propose alternative representations for education and explore how we might use the benefits of hands-on and embodied learning experiences in the context of astronomy education.
3 prototyping stages were planned, first to reveal design knowledge, second to propose design solutions and third to refine and unify a final design. My goal was to have the final design implementable within the Umevatoriet setting.
The Astronomer is a collaborative project with Umevatoriet, a public science centre and planetarium in Umeå. In order to help children better understand some of astronomy's more abstract concepts, The Astronomer increases engagement with this subject matter by letting visitors contribute to the Umevatoriet galaxy by creating stars, exploring and learning about them in the process. The concept aims to enable understanding of astronomy through creative ownership and provides a multi-modal means to relate to space.