Pleiadi, when science and fun go hand in hand - TOMATO Project

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Pleiadi, when science and fun go hand in hand

Pleiadi is one of the partners of the TOMATO project, let’s find out who they are.

Pleiadi, why this name?
When Alessio Scaboro and Lucio Biondaro founded the cooperative in 2009, they were looking for a name that could contain the the two things that characterises us the most: science and playing
The cooperative takes its name from a cluster of stars, the Pleiades, also known as the ‘Seven Sisters’, which are in the Taurus constellation. They are gravitationally bound stars with a common origin. After the sun and the moon, they are the most visible stars to the bare eye. Their great visibility in the night sky has meant that they are considered an important reference in many cultures, ancient and present from all over the world.
The Pleiades are 7 stars, and in 2009 there were 7 science subjects that we taught in schools through educational projects: science, mathematics, physics, biology, technology, astronomy, chemistry.
Moreover, the name ‘Pleiades’ encapsulates the English pronunciation of the verb ‘to play’, which is the characteristic feature of the cooperative’s educational method: playing. As Maria Montessori said: “Playis the work of the child’, and the same is stated in the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and Adolescent.

Where are you from?
We are from Italy. We have several offices in northern Italy.
In the Veneto Region we have an office in Padua, a logistics and production centre for educational activities, festivals and events; we have an office in Verona, the Children’s Museum, a museum specially designed for children up to 12 years old dedicated to learning STEAM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics) through playing.
In 2022 we inaugurated another museum, the MU-CH Museum of Chemistry, located in Settimo Torinese in the Piedmont Region. The MU-CH is aimed at children and young people from 5 to 15 years old and is dedicated to disseminating the knowledge of chemistry in an interactive way.

What do you do?
We do science outreach. We believe that promoting science through hands-on experiences is a fundamental element for the development and growth of every human beings, starting from the childhood.

TOMATO project is the brainchild of Gruppo Pleiadi. The idea is to provide opportunities for avery children to grow, especially those who are on a disadvantaged position for economic, social or learning-related reasons.
Especially during the pandemic, talking with schools, parents and visitors of our museums we perceived the need for the children to continue learning while having fun, even in that difficult time. We asked ourselves a question: How could we reach them in an innovative way while keep spreading science and culture? Working with museums, creating for them displays and educational paths for children, we realised the need for cultural institutions to find strategies that could bring children and families closer to museum collections, to make them accessible and affordable to all. How could we put our educational and dissemination method at the service of museums, that are custodians of heritage and culture? TOMATO is the answer to both questions.

What is your role within the project?
Pleiadi is the creative leader for the realisation of the 8 kits. In particular, we are in charge of the hands-on activities to be included in the kits. We will try to put the museums physically inside a box and make them accessible to everyone. We are designing experiences with a surprising effect and very hands-on, with the aim to activate a healthy curiosity in the children and adults who will receive the 1,000 kits.
We are also working closely with IShowroom, the partner responsible for the app that will be implemented. Thanks to their work, each kit will also have a digital and online dimension, with games and activities for all ages.

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