In addition to the growing number of educatonal resources you will find on the CAASTRO in the Classroom website, there are many useful astronomy resources available on other websites. Here are some of our favourites, each with a short review.
Years: 5 – 10
A discontinued annual program run by the Australian Gemini Office where students suggest an object in the Southern sky to photograph and write an explanation of why it would be interesting to digitally photograph. First prize is 1 hour of observing time on the 8-metre Gemini South telescope in the Andes Mountains of Chile. The website lists previous winners and teachers can download free hi-res images of winning photographs.
Suggested classroom activity: Set a class project to find the best astrophotography on the internet and present images to the class with explanations of the photographs.
Years: 7 – 12
CSIRO website with up-to-date news and events on Australian radio astronomy observatories including the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), Australian Square Kilometre Array Pathfinder (ASKAP) and Parkes Radio Telescope. The Outreach section has information on radio astronomy for junior classes, as well as a comprehensive set of information on the astrophysics and cosmic engine options for New South Wales senior physics classes. The ASKAP section has a useful summary of the telescope’s specifications and there is a section with links to careers in astronomy, work experience and summer school for school students.
Suggested activities: Set students a research task to outline the features of each of the telescopes (especially the ASKAP). Links to New South Wales Physics Cosmic Engine and Astrophysics material can be used as revision for students.
Years: 5 – 10
The Resources section of the website has a list of links to various astronomy websites, a lot of which are aimed at junior and middle-school science. Galileo newsletters also give a snapshot of recent developments in astronomy education in Australia and throughout the world.
Years: 5 – 12
The Outreach and Education section of the website contains links for teachers and students for a range of astronomy resources from primary school physics through to senior secondary physics. On the main site there are also a number of engaging educational videos and images on radio astronomy in the ‘Multimedia’ section.
Suggested classroom activities: Educational videos linked to from this site can be used to assist in teaching about radio astronomy and current technologies.
Years: 9 – 12
Information on the Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) radio telescope in Western Australia which is located on the proposed site for the Australian part of the Square Kilometer Array. The website contains information on the MWA, the science behind what low-frequency radio telescopes can detect, as well as a range of educational videos and images.
Suggested classroom activities: The site can be used as a part of a research project as well as videos to assist in teaching about radio astronomy.
Years: K – 10
A comprehensive source of Earth and Space Science resources. All resources have been peer-reviewed by scientists and educators for accuracy and usefulness. Teachers can search for specific content or select science topics, year levels or lesson duration. This website contains a wide range of teaching resources, lesson ideas and worksheets. Mostly free.
Years: 7 – 10
A range of engaging science topics with interactives, catchy graphics and images. The section on ‘Space & Time’ also has a summary of the International Square Killometer Array (SKA) project with associated images and videos that are appropriate for junior and middle-school science as well as revision for senior physics students. http://www.nova.org.au/space-time/exploring-unknown-square-kilometre-array
Suggested classroom activities: Resources for homework research projects and printable worksheets.
Years: Senior Physics, advanced Year 10 classes, or STEM clubs.
A project that allows high school students to control the Parkes radio telescope to make real measurements of pulsars. Students can also select from previous observations, make readings on pulse arrival times and calculate the distance to pulsars using these readings. The website gives instructions on each step of the process for students to follow.
Years: 7 – 10
RiAus is an excellent source of online resources, videos and articles on a wide range of science topics. The ‘PDplus’ section has free downloadable booklets with worksheets and activities aimed at students from years 7 to 10.
Suggested classroom activities: Each PDplus booklet contains detailed and engaging information and a range of activities, images and graphics for students to work through by themselves or guided by a teacher.
Years: K – 12
The ASSIST website contains hundreds of online resources with reviews and links to the Australian Curriculum. Most of these resources are free. Some resources require a Scootle login.
Years: 10 – 12
Gives students the opportunity to control the $30M Faulkes telescopes via the internet to take images and readings of stars and galaxies. Teachers can contact the team to get access to astronomers in their school who will then instruct students and teachers on how to access and use the telescopes.
Suggested classroom activities: Schools in New South Wales can have astronomers come to their school and run programs on radio astronomy where students get to do their own research and data readings.
Years: 7 – 10
Overview of radio astronomy and the Australian SKA with interviews and animations. Students can watch the video and answer questions in the “Things to think about” section.
Years: 9 – 12
The Australian SKA website with information about Australia’s involvement in the project, video and images, as well as some excellent Fact Sheets for students. Teachers can print out and use the Fact Sheets as research tasks on radio astronomy and the SKA telescopes.
Years: Year 3 – 10
The international SKA website. This site contains posters, comics and games for primary science, and ‘amazing facts’, infographics, videos, images and information for Year 7-10 science. There are also links to Indigenous Australian astronomy in the ‘Shared Sky’ section.
Suggested classroom activities: The SKA comic is great for primary school students. High school students can make use of the Technology and Science sections to research radio astronomy. The infographics make for great classroom posters.
Years: 7 – 10
Professor Stephen Hawking discusses the expanding universe, the doppler effect, and introduces the birth of the universe. This video is a great introduction into the big bang and expansion of the universe.
Years: 3 – 10
The ‘Educational Materials’ section has a list of various astronomy based lesson plans, activities, games and images for download. ‘Space Scoop’ in the News section has short articles suited for Year 3 – 10 students to pique their interest in astronomy and can lead to further investigations.
And for budding astrophotographers:
In this five chapter guide, you’ll learn everything you need to take great pictures at night. By using proper camera settings, gear, composition, and focal points, you will learn how to create properly exposed pictures of stars, nighttime landscapes, and the Milky Way.