Pedagogical Innovation and Creativity


This project is based on the experience of Eratosthenes, curator of the library of Alexandria, that 2200 years ago, calculated in a simple way, the circumference of the Earth by comparing two shadows.

The calculation requires partners situated all over the planet.

Nothing new: everybody should know, since two millennia that the result is 40 000 km

The interest is the combination of a very simple experiment with ICT and web 2.0 tools



Curricular Integration


The project is a part of the operation "La Main à la Pâte" created by Georges Charpak (Nobel Prize)

supported by Institut National de la Recherche Pédagogique and the Académie des sciences


Many subjects are seen, often in a ludic point of view, in order for the pupils to acquire very different knowledge (and are linked to the latest school programs).
• History and geography : We begin with ancient Egypt to explain who was Eratosthenes in his time and place, and at the end of the project, the pupils will have to look for points on the globe and find where are their correspondents.
• Astronomy : the shadow of a simple staff will show the trajectory of the sun during the day and see when it is at its highest, then see how this course changes with the seasons.
• Physics, of course : light and shadow are at the heart of the project, and experiments will be done on the field, and then simulations in the classroom to reproduce what has been observed.
• Technology also, since the instruments will have to be made and adjusted : gnomons (primitive sundials), plumb line, air level, set square, quadrants, will be designed, made, tested and adjusted by the pupils.
• Mathematics, of course, especially geometry, for the pupils will have to use parallels, angles, triangles, circles, length differences…
-Oral as well as written language, since it will be used in every activity, especially for experimental process used by La main à la pête : the pupils will make hypothesis, design experiments, make observations and then give conclusions, either orally or in a day-to-day log.
• Information and communication techniques : thanks to the Internet, the pupils will make documentary researches, and discuss with other pupils to compare and exchange the results of their measures and calculations.
• Plastic arts, since this project gives the oppotunity to show one's creativity : drawings showing Eratosthenes history, cartoons, models of the experiments, calligraphy to reproduce hieroglyphs and greek alphabet...

is integrated in the curriculum of all partners schools.

In France:

primary school

BO hors-série n° 3 du 19 juin 2008
1 - Langage oral
2 - Lecture, écriture
3 - Étude de la langue française
1 - Nombres et calcul
2 - Géométrie
3 - Grandeurs et mesures
4 - Organisation et gestion de données


Lower secondary school

Bulletin officiel spécial n° 6 du 28 août 2008
C - La lumière : sources et propagation rectiligne



Collaboration Between Partner Schools


This project is based on a scientific collaboration : We need the measurements of all the partner schools to obtain the final result.

The human collaboration is also important. More than experiment results, students exchanged through videos and videoconferences about their countries, schools , habits ... After 5 years, the partners teachers of the core network became now friends

Creative Use of ICT


The main events of the project were the Elluminate videoconferences.

Each school prepared slides for the presentation of their country, city, school, measurement, and calculation.

They were presented by students during the videoconference.

At the same time, those videoconferences gathered students from 4 continents.

30th March (1pm UTC) : 12 schools (India, Slovenia, France, Italy, Malta, Tunisa, Argentina, Panama, Canada)

22nd June (1pm UTC) : 12 schools (Vietnam, India, Slovenia, France, Portugal, Italy, Morocco, Argentina, Canada)


Sustainability and Transferability


The Eratosthenes eTwinning projects started with eTwinning.

Since 2005, 49 eTwinning schools participated to those projects


  • 2005: "Mesurer la circonférence de la Terre »
  • 2006:"Measuring the circumference of the Earth »
  • 2007:« Bibliothecea Eratosthenes »
  • 2008:« Forum Eratosthenes »
  • 2009:"2009 International Year of Astronony - Eratosthenes »
  • 2010: Eratosthenes measurements 2010


Results and Benefits


During this project, the European eTwinners could exchange with partners all over the world, meet them on line through videoconferences, and travel hundreds of times, circling around the World.

During the year 2010 we had 3 main measurements events:

March equinox : 11 classes - 8 countries

June solstice : 21 classes - 10 countries

September equinox : 10 classes - 8 countries