The Impact of One World One Sky on Children’s Interest and Learning about Astronomy

July 26th, 2011 | EVALUATION

One World, One Sky: Big Bird's Adventure (OWOS) is a bi-national, China-US cooperative project to produce and distribute a planetarium show based on popular characters from Sesame Workshop's television productions in each country for preschool- and kindergarten-aged children, as well as accompanying outreach materials for children, parents and teachers to further enhance learning. The project aims to: (1) provide young Chinese and American children aged four to six with an age-appropriate introduction to astronomy; (2) promote positive attitudes toward science among young children in both countries; (3) foster understanding of one another among children in China and the US. Since 2003, OWOS has brought the wonders of astronomy to young children across the US and China, setting the stage for positive encounters with science throughout their formal and informal education. In addition to helping fill a broad unmet need among all preschool- and kindergarten-aged children, OWOS also reaches particularly underserved classrooms who might not have access to a planetarium through a specially formatted show that can be used in portable dome settings. The project includes outreach materials designed to enhance the show's educational impact through follow-up activities at home and in the classroom. Facilitator and Teacher Guides created for the project help adults who care for young children use OWOS to make science a fun and engaging experience, and many of the planetariums who work with OWOS offer training programs to further ensure the program's success involving children and adults alike in science education. Independent summative research on One World, One Sky, indicates that the project has had a positive impact on children's learning about astronomy through a combination of the planetarium experience and follow-up activities in classrooms and/or at home. The final evaluation found that: - Children in both countries enjoyed the show, acquired some new information about basic astronomy ideas, and increased their understanding of the language and culture of the other country. - Teachers in both countries assessed OWOS positively and engaged in a variety of follow-up activities in their classroom in the weeks following the viewing. The viewing experience stimulated many teachers to seek additional information from the Internet and to plan additional informal science learning visits to other planetariums or museums. - Parents in both countries who accompanied a child to the show reported that they found OWOS to be enjoyable and of educational value for their child or children. Many of the parents indicated that they had engaged in post-show learning activities with their child, ranging from looking at the night sky and talking about the experience to using the Internet to search for additional information or materials. - Both teachers and parents said that they would bring their class or child back to the planetarium (or other science learning facility) in the future, indicating a disposition toward more frequent informal science learning. Overall, results indicate that the OWOS initiative was successful in achieving its educational objectives. OWOS achieved these objectives by capturing the interest and attention of young children with creative, engaging media and enabling parents and teachers to carry out subsequent educational conversations and activities. The questionnaires and interview protocols used in this study are included in the appendix of this report.



Team Members

Jon Miller, Evaluator, University of Michigan
Li Daguang, Evaluator, Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences
Sesame Workshop, Contributor


Funding Source: NSF
Funding Program: AISL
Award Number: 0307886
Funding Amount: 1900172

Related URLs
Da Niao and Big Bird Look at the Sky


Audience: Educators | Teachers | Elementary School Children (6-10) | Evaluators | Museum | ISE Professionals | Parents | Caregivers | Pre-K Children (0-5)
Discipline: Education and learning science | Space science
Resource Type: Evaluation Reports | Interview Protocol | Research and Evaluation Instruments | Summative | Survey
Environment Type: Community Outreach Programs | Informal | Formal Connections | K-12 Programs | Media and Technology | Planetarium and Science on a Sphere | Public Programs