The Panhellenic school activity of calculating the radius of the Earth using the method of Eratosthenes was held with great success again this year on the day of the Vernal Equinox, Monday 20th March 2023. The action, organized by Panhellenic Association of Coordinators of the Experiment Centres of Natural Sciences, stands out among our school events in the recent years due to the large participation of students and teachers of all levels. Students from schools all over Greece calculate the circumference of the Earth by measuring the lengths of rods and their shadows, repeating the famous experiment of the ancient Greek mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher Eratosthenes. An experiment that is among the 10 most beautiful scientific experiments in the history of Physics.
The main objective of the action is to highlight the experiment, as an integral component of the educational process, through the participation of students and teachers in experiential, collaborative and discovery activities. The primary objectives of the action also include: the participation of students in an activity of great interest, the exchange of data and the interdisciplinary approach.
The activity of carrying out the historical experiment of Eratosthenes is particularly simple. But despite its simplicity, it is particularly impressive that it manages:
♦ to lead to established knowledge and acceptance of the value of the Sciences for the understanding of the universe,
♦ to effortlessly attract students’ interest and magnetize the thinking of many, so as to promote and cultivate their positive attitude towards Science.
Our school once again participated in this nationwide action by including the experiment in the curriculum of the A Lyceum in combination with the measurement of the mass of the Earth. The whole activity was well received by the 108 students of Grade 1 who worked harmoniously in groups using appropriate instruments and detailed worksheets.
14 groups were created by the teachers, Mrs. Margarita Toulatou and Mrs. Maria Diakonou, in such a way that they were made up of students from different departments (two or one student from each department). Thus, the mood of cooperation between them was strengthened and they focused on the work that had been assigned to them.
The students cooperated extremely well with each other, and the supervising teachers did not have to intervene at all except in an advisory way. Time was counted with the timer of their mobile phones. The results were judged from very good to excellent, since errors ranged from 0.3% to 1.2%.
The implementation of the application was planned for the last two teaching hours, but the surprising thing was that everyone stayed until they handed in their completed worksheets even after the end of their school hours.
In order to carry out this teaching intervention, it was necessary to reform the program for the specific day and to cooperate with the colleagues who offered their teaching hours.