FRESCO – Florence RESidency and COdesign

Fresco2 2 We are waiting for your ideas… DEADLINE EXTENDED: 10/3/2024!!!

FRESCO (Florence RESidency and COdesign) is a project aimed at co-designing playful resources for children, targeting ages up to 12 years (U12) within an international community, building on previous co-design experiences in the Mediterranean. This is a call to action! We are looking for teams of NAECs + teachers to work at the co-design.

We will specifically focus on playful activities to acquire knowledge and skills in astronomy and astrophysics.  In the design process, we can mix and match different methods, practices, and instruments around: a board game, digital game, tinkering-like and/or hands-on approach, focusing on STEAM,  Astronomy, and Astrophysics. Then, will share our resources with a broader audience, encouraging teachers worldwide to remix these activities in their classrooms.

FRESCO is one of the two co-design-based residencies organised by OAE Italy Center in 2024 together with SABIR, that will produce resources for high school students.



The Office of Astronomy for Education – Center Italy carries on this project within the general Office of Astronomy for Education framework. One of the aspects dealt explicitly with by OAE Centre Italy is designing and supporting child-centred learning methodologies for the educational level of primary schools, meaning children of age range between 5 and 12 years (U12).

From our experience with schools and educational communities, we have realised that to develop scientific citizenship starting from primary school, we need to overcome the difficulties in building valuable educational practices that are rich and feasible for teachers and students within their different local contexts. Historically, Astronomy education opportunities have been denied or given inadequate access – based on race, ethnicity, gender, disability, or economic status.  FRESCO is committed to contributing to Astronomy education decolonisation and to offering more equal opportunities for underserved communities.

We want to stimulate practices that engage pupils and teachers to allow students to “look inside” scientific research and understand how it works, with a child-centred and playful approach, namely through activities that engage pupils and encourage them to actively participate in their learning, focusing on their interests and passions.

For an interesting perspective of a child-centred and playful approach, you may watch this contribution from Carmelo Presicce (Life Long Kindergarden MIT)  given at the 3rd Shaw-IAU Workshop on Astronomy for Education.



The FRESCO project aims to co-design educational resources based on playful approaches, targeting ages up to 12 years (U12), through online cooperative sessions within an international community. Also, for a restricted group of participants and depending on our funding, we foresee an in-presence workshop in Florence (Italy) in October (final dates TBD), following the online co-design phase. The workshop will be useful to finalize the resources, reinforce the network, and work on possible tailoring.

The project’s objectives are twofold: on the one hand, we plan to encourage networking and enlarge a community of practitioners devoted explicitly to STEM and Astronomy child-centred education. On the other hand, we plan to test and publish educational astronomy resources (on AstroEdu and/or other platforms) that could be widely spread and used. We will also document and evaluate the codesign, the network-building process and we will assess the resources. 

FRESCO design will have a specific focus on activities using playful and creative learning aimed at acquiring knowledge and skills in astronomy and astrophysics (Game Based Learning – GBL, and Playful Learning – PL)

We will select 9 teams that will work together to co-design 3 activities. We would form working groups, bringing together people with similar interests. Please share your ideas in the application. Your proposals could be a starting point or a tasteful ingredient for the final design!

The ideas may include games (card, board, digital, role-playing, escape-room-like activities …), street games, creative, hands-on, and playful activities based on coding, tinkering, or collaborative practices that connect children in different countries. These activities should engage the children to develop (together and individually) their own solutions to problems, thus encouraging cooperation, the development of life skills, analysis and problem-solving, and their capacity to organise themselves.

This is one of the I-OAE projects building on previous experiences in the Mediterranean (info here FRESCO is one of the two co-design-based residencies organised by OAE Italy Center in 2024. The other residency, SABIR, will run from February to November. One week will be spent in Milano, from the 2nd to 8th of September. The SABIR residency involves Morocco, Lebanon, Turkey, Spain, Slovenia, and Italy.

  • Team composition

To participate in FRESCO you must be in a team of at least 2/3 people with at least one NAEC. We strongly encourage direct participation or a strong collaboration with primary/middle school teachers and their active involvement in the co-design. Applying to FRESCO means a commitment to work with us on co-designing new activities stemming from the ones chosen from the proposals we will receive. 

  • Propose your idea

To participate in the FRESCO project, please submit your proposal using the form here

The activities you propose can either be ready to use or just drafted.

In the FRESCO co-design online meetings, we will facilitate a dialogue between teams designing, re-designing, enriching, improving, and tailoring the resources drawing from different methods, practices, and instruments around the idea of playful and meaningful learning. Therefore, authors must be open to ‘deconstruct’ and rework the proposed activities according to the input from the co-design group. Also, unfinished ideas and in-progress activities are welcome as a starting point for the whole group to implement them in the co-design process. 

As part of the project, the I-OAE Office intends to disseminate most effectively the results of the co-design process. In addition, we plan to publish the resources so that they will be widely spread and useful for teachers and practitioners all around the world (AstroEdu when possible and other repositories if applicable). The results of the codesign process will also be widely presented and shared in international Astronomy education conferences. Also, we will pay attention that the activities will be accessible as much as possible, adopting good practices such as publishing a print&play version in the case of a board game, an offline version in the case of digital games, including different representation modalities (e.g. different sensory inputs, multiple cultural backgrounds); encouraging translations in as many languages as possible, etc.


We plan a series of online co-design meetings (with the minimum participation of the team coordinator) and offline teamwork. We foresee at least the following online meetings:

  • Kick-Off meeting (tentative mid-April) (2h)
  • co-design round one (tentative mid-May)(2h)
  • co-design round two (tentative mid-June)(2h)
  • co-design round three (tentative beginning of July)(2h)
  • plenary (mid-September)

Depending on the applications, we could modify our agenda. We will publish a final calendar at the Kick-Off.

Also, some off-line teamwork will be needed: at least 4 to 8 hours per month on design and testing of the activities or writing and editing the descriptions according to the form for publishing in AstroEdu (and/or the repository websites as needed).

For the Florence Residency, we plan to select and fund at least 4 participants, or more (depending on distances and traveling and accommodation costs), who will participate in an in-presence workshop of 5 full days (tentatively in October 2024) in Florence (Italy). 

Following this, we plan a final online plenary meeting to share the workshop results with all the involved community. 


Please propose your participation by submitting the form before March 3rd

If you have any doubts or questions, please contact:

Alessandra Zanazzi  

Silvia Casu 

Sara Ricciardi 

Stefania Varano 

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