Online course in Teaching

Our Solar System and Beyond: Teaching Primary Science

Improve your knowledge of space science to help you deliver primary science lessons that are out of this world.

Our Solar System and Beyond: Teaching Primary Science

  • Duration 3 weeks
  • Weekly study 3 hours
  • Learn Free
  • Extra benefits From $54 Find out more

Understand the Solar System and how to teach it with real-life astronomers

Understanding the Solar System and how to teach it can be a tricky business. Fortunately astronomers at the Royal Observatory Greenwich are here to help.

In this online course, they’ll help you understand space, address some common misconceptions, and introduce you to the science and people behind real-life, cutting-edge discoveries.

You’ll also find out how to select the most appropriate resources for your primary science lessons. You’ll explore digital resources, museum tips, video chats and podcasts, and find out what works best for your students.

Skip to 0 minutes and 5 secondsOne historic observatory, two astronomers, thousands of light years to explore. Prepare yourself to blast off into space.

Skip to 0 minutes and 22 secondsWell, sort of. Join astronomers Rad and Liz from the Royal Observatory Greenwich, the home of time and space, as they take you on a voyage of discovery, through the cosmic jungle of primary school science. Explore the most common primary science misconceptions. The real science and the real people behind cutting edge discoveries. They will show you how to ignite the imagination and enthusiasm of your students. They will help you develop and stretch your knowledge so that you can develop and stretch the knowledge of your class. We will give you the power to apply all of your new found space knowledge. To make your primary science lessons truly out of this world. So what are you waiting for? Join in.

What topics will you cover?

Week 1 - Tackling scary science

  • Communicating space science and astronomy
  • Perceptions of science
  • Explain astronomical concepts
  • Reflect on your teaching
  • Common misconceptions

Week 2 - Teaching primary science and beyond

  • Teaching astronomy
  • Going off-curriculum

Week 3 - New science - taking it beyond the classroom

  • Real science, real scientists, real data
  • Science outside the classroom
  • What next? Incorporating new ideas in the classroom

When would you like to start?

Most FutureLearn courses run multiple times. Every run of a course has a set start date but you can join it and work through it after it starts. Find out more

  • Available now
    This course started 7 Oct 2019

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you'll be able to...

  • Explain the scientific concepts behind the Sun, Earth, Moon system, the seasons, eclipses and the Solar System and interpret them in an appropriate, accurate and understandable way for your students.
  • Apply your knowledge and experiment with new methods of teaching space science.
  • Openly discuss challenging topics within the field of astronomy and space science with your class.
  • Reflect on your perceptions of science and scientists so that you can self-modify any perceptions that could be potentially discourage students from exploring the subject further.
  • Identify reliable sources of information relating to cutting edge astronomy and space science and lead a discussion with your students about how real science, real people and real data relates to the world around us.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for primary school teachers and home educators, who have an interest in expanding their knowledge of space, the Solar System and science more broadly, and improving their primary science lessons.

What do people say about this course?

Really enjoyed this course and will definitely be recommending it to colleagues that teach primary science or undertake STEM visits. It has shown me new and exciting ways to communicate science and I'm sure it will inspire others too. Many Thanks!

Don Ferguson

Who will you learn with?

Dhara Patel

Dhara Patel

Astronomy Education Officer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich

Gregory Brown

Gregory Brown

Astronomy Education Officer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich, London

Liz Avery

Liz Avery

Senior Manager: Astronomy Education at the Royal Observatory Greenwich.

Who developed the course?

The Royal Observatory at Greenwich was founded by Charles II in 1675. Today it is a museum and science centre offering inspiring, curriculum-linked experiences delivered by real astronomers.

Join this course

Start this course for free, upgrade for extra benefits, or buy Unlimited to access this course and hundreds of other short courses for a year.


Join free and you will get:

  • Access to this course for 5 weeks


Upgrade this course and you will get:

  • Access to this course for as long as it’s on FutureLearn
  • A print and digital Certificate of Achievement once you’re eligible

Unlimited (New!)
$239 $179 for one year

Buy Unlimited and you will get:

  • Access to this course, and hundreds of other FutureLearn short courses and tests for a year
  • A printable digital Certificate of Achievement on all short courses once you’re eligible
  • The freedom to keep access to any course you've achieved a digital Certificate of Achievement on, for as long as the course exists on FutureLearn
  • The flexibility to complete your choice of short courses in your own time within the year
Find out more about upgrades or Unlimited.
Available until 31 October 2019. T&Cs apply.