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In the gardens of Enghien Château : an observatory.
Monday 17 November 2008
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Develop a reading of a historic garden

OBJECTIVES

To find the main characteristics of an astronomic observatory built in a garden, as well as the relevant elements of its historical background.

SKILLS

Mathematics:
- ability to structure space
- ability to measure dimensions
- ability to understand and use common geometry-related vocabulary it its context

History:
- interpret historical sources
- identify and define people’s way of life at a specific time
- use landmarks and timelines based on simultaneousness in duration, chronology and rhythm

REFERENCES

Enghien Park

Work in partnership with the Environment Initiation Centre, a service set in the park of Enghien Château, in order to implement a two-way partnership between the teacher and the specialized guide. Each partner uses their specific skills to bring into class life the skills and notions tackled by the pupils during the activities.

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PROCEDURES

On entering the park, each group of children is given a photograph of one of the alleys starting from the Seven Star Pavilion. The children walk about, discover the park without the help of a map, only looking for the place shown on the photo.

The radial structure around the pavilion thus becomes obvious. The children are led to find out a series of symbolic figures: the 7 alleys, the 4 pillars, the 28 cubes… What is the link between these figures? The children make assumptions. Thanks to historical texts, it will appear that the pavilion was used as an astronomical calendar. The children will also discover the heptagon shape. Elements related to the notion of angle and the properties of the circle can thus be found out or put to work.

Thanks to iconographical sources (18th century engravings), the children are made aware of the initial structure of the park and of the pavilion’s central place. It is situated in its highest part, and is symbolical of the way man in the 17th century regarded himself: a man whose knowledge enabled him to dominate nature and the world, who tried to master time and space.

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FOLLOW-ON- ACTIVITIES

- Build a sundial
- Visit a planetarium


Aurélie Demol, Ludivine Deganseman, Laëtitia Delepée, Catherine Maître, Magali Devuyst, Haute Ecole roi Baudouin, Braine-le-Comte, Belgique

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