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Welcome to the course

Join the Royal Observatory Greenwich astronomers in exploring astronomy and space physics.
Welcome to the course, Astronomy and Space Physics: Teaching Secondary Science. This is a three-week course filled with knowledge building activities, practical tips and ideas to use in the classroom, as well as accounts from real teachers and professionals in the world of science. All to help you become more confident and excited when it comes to teaching space science. Together, we’ll explore how you can approach teaching space physics and how you can expose your students to current and real science, preparing them to become scientific thinkers and well-rounded citizens of the future.
If you are new to the profession and you find the prospect of teaching space science daunting, or if you’re an experienced educator looking for a fresh take on teaching the subject, we’ve got you covered with steps to help you consolidate your knowledge and broaden and reflect on your teaching practise. We’ll begin by considering some different factors that might influence your approach to teaching, from your own perception of science to those of your students, and the wider context of how science is perceived in society. And along the way, we’ll hear from some teachers who’ll share their experiences.
We’ll then look at some common space topics that often prove tricky for students to grasp and highlight misconceptions that tend to arise been teaching them. We’ll give you the tools to build or refresh your astronomy and space science knowledge, and direct you to a number of resources to help you in your teaching. And because science isn’t just about imparting knowledge but also about developing skills, we’ll provide a springboard from which you can encourage your students to become real scientists, who investigate and use reason to form their own conclusions. Later on in the course, we’ll look at the benefits of science learning extended beyond the curriculum.
We’ll share different ways that you can bring cutting edge science to your students and ways in which you can inspire them to become scientists in their own right. Doing themselves what astronomers and scientists do professionally. And towards the end of the course, we’ll look at the parks and challenges of teaching virtually, sharing some ideas of how you can recreate that interactive classroom experience online. By the time you finish this course, we want you to come away with new ideas and approaches to teaching astronomy and space physics.
We want you to feel confident and excited about educating your students, guiding them to become the scientists of a future generation - keen, confident, and prepared to continue exploring and learning about the world for themselves. We hope you’re feeling ready and excited. We’ve got lots to cover in the next few weeks, so let’s jump right in.

We want to give you the confidence and tools to teach inspiring science lessons. Not only will you learn with us, but you’ll also be invited to hear from other secondary science teachers and professionals in the world of science too – all of whom are excited to share their expertise and experience with you.

What will this course cover?

The content of this course will most closely link to the UK secondary science curriculum for students aged 11-16 and we’ll also include topics covered at Post-16 level too. If you’re teaching outside the UK, that’s no problem. You’ll likely find that you can adapt the course to fit with your programme of study, since the themes and ideas discussed are applicable to science curricula around the world and we’ll be covering core science topics that are taught globally. We encourage you to use examples from your context wherever you can.

In Week 1, we will focus on a variety of factors to consider when planning and teaching science lessons including different perceptions, literacy and maths, and a concept known as science capital.

In Week 2, we will look at space physics concepts covered at secondary level and how you can build the ‘working scientifically’ skills of your students. We’ll share mini fact files, common misconceptions and resources that you can use, all to help you communicate the scientific ideas to your students most effectively.

In Week 3, we will look at ways to expose your students to real science and real scientists so that they feel connected to the scientific community. And we’ll finish off by diving into virtual teaching and exploring ways to make your online lessons safe, engaging and interactive.

We encourage you to share your thoughts with us throughout the course. We’ve got three jam-packed weeks ahead, so let’s jump right in!

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Physics, Astronomy, and Space: Teaching Secondary Science

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