1st Erasmus + Meeting in Šentjur, Slovenia (24th- 30th November 2015)
The first international meeting of partner schools participating in the project “Reach the Sky” (within Erasmus+ programme) was organized by Franjo Malgaj Primary in Šentjur in Slovenia. In the last week of November, students and teachers from partner schools in Turkey, Romania, Spain and Poland arrived to the small town in the Slavinia region. Our school was represented by teachers- Mr Cemil Gülbahar – project coordinator, Ms Fatma Atlı, Ms Betül Güzel, Ms Sevinç Demir Ermeç and Mr Hanifi Güz and the students- Hande Tiryakioğlu, Baran Deniz Doğan, Selahattin Ata Since, Tolgahan Boran, Mehlika Sinem Kapukaya.
We reached Šentjur on Tuesday 24th Nov 2015 in the morning. After a warm greeting, the students went to the homes of host families, and then to a short meeting at the host school. Our hosts prepared a very attractive programme for us.
25th Nov 2015 (Wednesday)– The first day began with a meeting in the gymnastic hall, where all the students and teachers came to meet us. Next, we went on a tour around the school. We were able to observe lessons, like every day, but there was a surprise for us. The youngest kindergarten students prepared special artistic performances presenting their English language skills. The teachers had the opportunity to get to know methods of work and Slovenian education system. The next point of the programme was the presentations of partner countries, prepared by the students.
After a short break, there was a ceremonial opening of the 1st Erasmus+ – the guests and the school community were welcomed by the head teacher Mr Marjan Gradišnik and the Slovenian coordinator Mr Jure Radišek. The highlight of the opening was the performance of “Ode to Joy”, European anthem by Ludwig von Beethoven, sung by the school choir.
Franjo Malgaj School students presented an artistic programme. Referring to the theme of the project, young hosts also prepared a quiz with knowledge of the the Solar System and Slovenia for their colleagues from the partner schools. The strongest teams turned out to be the groups from Turkey and Spain. The summary of the meeting was the part of the astronomical session in planetarium. A lecture concerning the selected objects of the Solar System and was given in English.
After the official part, the students could get to know one another by taking part in a disco – the party lasted till 8 p.m.
26th Nov 2015 (Thursday)- The day began with a trip to Šentjur Astronomical Observatory in Golovec District. There, employees of the Department of Mathematics and Physics of University of Ljubljana presented us the contemporary methods of conducting research and photographing objects on the celestial sphere using modern telescopes.
After intensive programme at the observatory, we went to visit the capital of Slovenia- Lubljana. The Old Town delighted us with interesting buildings, Dragon Bridge and festive decorations, among others, in the shape of the solar system. The main purpose of our walk was the medieval castle towering over the city, from which we saw a wonderful panorama of the city.
In the afternoon we went on a field trip to the mountains, but because of heavy snowfall the plans had to be modified. We were warmly received by the hosts of “House on Kurešcku” where interesting workshops were conducted by students of active Astronomical Society. In addition to interesting information about the selected objects of the Universe, we heard about the problem of light pollution. The summary of activities was the making of a Cosmic Calendar – we calculated the time events since the beginning of the universe to the present times for 1 calendar year. In the intervals between activities, students were playing a snowball fight. We returned to Šentjur after midnight, tired, but very happy.
27th Nov 2015 (Friday)- We met again in Franjo Malgaj School. On this day we had a workshop on astronomy. The students solved crosswords and astronomical quizzes prepared by the Turkish team. Next, we were working in international groups on a project logo. The choice was very hard, but finally in a voting conducted among all the participants of the meeting, the logo prepared by Turkish team was chosen to be used as project logo.
Students spent the rest of the time in the computer room working with Stellarium programme and doing exercises prepared by the Slovenian coordinator- Mr Jure Radisek.
In the afternoon the Erasmus+ team left Sentjur and went to a local school in Prevorje where astronomical observations had been planned. It was our second attempt to do the field trip. Students and teachers, with great determination, carried the telescopes to the top of the hill. While setting all the devices, we were acquainted with rules of observations. Unfortunately, the weather made the practical part of observation impossible. Because of overcast sky, we couldn’t make observation as we planned.
We took part in an astrophotography workshops, listened to the lecture related to nature of the Universe and got acquainted with applications which make identification of objects on celestial sphere easier. The most interesting part of classes was making a comet by using liquid nitrogen.
Late at night we packed our telescopes and came back to Sentjur.
28th Nov 2015 (Saturday)- At 9 a.m we started classes at school- the students of partner schools showed a presentation about Solar System. Next classes took place in the computer room where we were working on photos of Earth which had been taken before as a part of NASA educational program Sally Ride EarthKam. During November mission, by using the International Space Station devices, we took several hundred photos from which we chose the most interesting ones. The jury, representatives of all partnership schools, chose the best photographs. The winners of the competition turned out to be students from Poland- Bartłomiej Gurba (“The Himalayas”) and Natalia Gwóźdź (“Australia”).
Students spent the afternoon with their host families, getting to know each other and each other’s culture and customs.
29th Nov 2015 (Sunday)- It was the last day of our common activities, and we took part in a bus trip around the Sava river region. The first point of the program was visiting Vitanje town, more precisely the KSEVT- the Cultural Centre of European Space Technologies. It was an extraordinary building. There was an exhibition showing the contribution of Slovenian scientists to the history of the research of Universe. It refers to the first project of a geostationary space station which is described in Herman Potocnik’s (Noordung) book from 1928.
We spent the rest of our time in Celje. Beautiful weather enabled us to get to know the region and one of the prettiest towns of Slovenia. We started touring around the town by listening to the history of Celje told by the guide on Starai Grad Castle- medieval fortification which overlooks the town. We learned that this building was erected in 13th century and was repeatedly extended and changed by rulers of Celje in the following centuries. Nowadays the fully restored castle is one of the most important Slovenian symbols. Moreover, an amazing panorama over the Savinja valley can be seen from there. Strolling about the streets in Celje, we reached the county palace where Town Museum is located. Exhibition of mementos of citizens who lived there in Roman times turned out to be especially interesting for us.
20th Nov 2015 (Monday) It was the day of our departure. After summing up meeting at school in Sentjur, we thanked our hosts and said goodbye to Slovenian students and their families. During that week we made a lot of friends.