Patricia Skelton

Patricia Skelton

Astronomy Education Officer at the Royal Observatory Greenwich

Activity

  • Hello everyone and welcome to `Physics, Astronomy, and Space: Teaching Secondary Science'! We were actively facilitating this course from 8 - 28 August and enjoyed reading and responding to your posts.

    The next facilitated period will begin on 17 October 2022, however we're confident that you'll find support in the comments from other participants taking...

  • Hello everyone and welcome to `Our Solar System and Beyond: Teaching Primary Science'! We were actively facilitating this course from 8 - 28 August and enjoyed reading and responding to your posts.

    The next facilitated period will begin on 17 October 2022, however we're confident that you'll find support in the comments from other participants taking the...

  • When looking at images of the Sun, it is certainly true that it looks like a giant ball of fire in the sky. In fact, before scientists figured out what stars like our Sun were made of and what powers them, many people thought that the Sun was made of fire.

    The Sun is a giant ball of very hot gases (in case anyone is curious - the temperature at the centre...

  • Thank you for bringing that to our attention - it looks like the link was broken! We have updated the link in the text so you should now be able to view the results of the survey.

  • Welcome to the course! :-)

  • Welcome to the course! :-)

  • @JuliannaSilvester There is a series called "5 levels" and they have a number of videos on a range of topics - you can view the playlist here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLibNZv5Zd0dyCoQ6f4pdXUFnpAIlKgm3N

  • You'll find out more about your course educators in the next step, and we would love to learn more about our students :-)

  • Hello everyone and welcome to `Physics, Astronomy, and Space: Teaching Secondary Science'! We will be actively facilitating this course from 8 - 27 August and look forward to sharing our experiences with you, and responding to your posts.

    We hope that you enjoy all the great topics covered in this course and that you will find it rewarding - there's loads...

  • You're absolutely correct in saying that it's okay not to understand everything and I think this is something that students (and teachers) should be told more often. When a topic pops up that you don't understand, this opens up fantastic a learning opportunity for everyone - learning is a lifelong process and we should never stop asking questions.

  • Welcome to Week 3 everyone :-)

    We've got quite a bit to cover, so let's get going!

  • Welcome to Week 3 everyone :-)

    We've got quite a bit to cover, so let's get going!

  • Welcome to the course! We're happy to answer any astronomy questions you may have :-)

  • I agree with you - it's so disheartening when you hear those words! When people are curious about a topic, or want to know how something works, even the most complicated thing can be broken down into chunks that are easy to understand.

    Here's one great example of how a complex topic like black holes can be explained in 5 levels of difficulty:...

  • A black hole's gravitational pull is so strong that not even light can escape from it. This means that if a spacecraft, or a drone, could survive entering a black hole, we would never be able to get any information back from that spacecraft/drone - black holes are certainly some of the strangest objects in the Universe!

  • Welcome to week 2 everyone!

    Looking forward to working with all of you this week and diving into some interesting topics :-)

  • Welcome to week 2 everyone!

    Looking forward to working with all of you this week and diving into some interesting topics :-)

  • Hello everyone and welcome to `Physics, Astronomy, and Space: Teaching Secondary Science'! We were actively facilitating this course from 14 - 6 March 2022 and enjoyed sharing our experiences with you, and responding to your posts.

    The next facilitated period will begin on 23 May 2022, however we're confident that you'll find support in the comments from...

  • Welcome everyone! It's always great to meet our course participants and learn a bit more about them :-) I'll kick things off - I love astronomy and space exploration (Mars is my favourite planet!), my love of Star Trek is what got me interested in astronomy, and I'm a huge LEGO fan.

  • Hello everyone and welcome to `Our Solar System and Beyond: Teaching Primary Science'! We will be actively facilitating this course from 23 May - 12 June 2022 and look forward to sharing our experiences with you, and responding to your posts.

    We hope that you enjoy all the great topics covered in this course and that you will find it rewarding - there's...

  • Really good points - spacecraft sent to explore other worlds are sterilised before leaving the Earth to ensure they are biologically clean and contaminant free.

  • Brilliant! The reasons you've outlined above are precisely why students should meet scientists :-)

  • The difference in lengths between the lunar phase cycle (29.5 days) and the lunar orbit (27.3 days) has to do with the fact that while the Moon is orbiting around the Earth, the Earth is also moving (it is orbiting the Sun).

    This means that when the Moon has completed one orbit of the Earth, the Moon has to then move a little bit further in its path to...

  • This is a misconception that I have come across too. Out of interest, and if you would be happy to share it, what made you change your mind about this particular misconception?

  • The second point you raised is a valid point and one that has been the focus of a fair number of conversations that I have had with members of the public and students. We're often asked why so much money is spent on sending astronauts to space because people living on the ground don't benefit from it. And it is a difficult point to talk about, but the truth...

  • Asteroids are something astronomers do keep an eye on because they can pose a threat to us here on the Earth (but it does depend on the orbit of the asteroid/s).

    A solar storm is dangerous and life threatening, but it is not due to asteroids. A solar storm relates to solar activity, or activity on the Sun. We might think that our Sun is a quiet star,...

  • Each planet of our solar system does orbit around the Sun, with each planet taking a different amount of time to do so. The Earth takes 365.25 days to complete one orbit of the Sun, Mercury only takes 88 days to complete one orbit of the Sun while Neptune takes an incredible 165 years to complete an orbit!

    The Sun provides us with heat and light which is...

  • Thank you for the wonderful feedback - we're delighted that you enjoyed the course :-)

  • Patricia Skelton made a comment

    We hope that you have enjoyed this course and that your confidence in teaching primary science has increased. If you would like more information about our schools programme, head to our website:

    https://www.rmg.co.uk/schools-communities/rog-schools

    You can also follow us on Twitter: @ROGAstronomers

    Happy stargazing! :-)

  • Hello everyone and welcome to `Our Solar System and Beyond: Teaching Primary Science'! We were actively facilitating this course from 9 - 29 August and enjoyed sharing our experiences in teaching astronomy and space science with you, and responding to your posts.

    The next facilitated period will begin on Monday 18 October, but until then, we encourage all...

  • Welcome to the course :-)

  • Great answers :-) As you say, it's very difficult to explain what the Universe is in just two sentences!

  • Welcome to the course! :-)

  • I always throw in something about the moon not being made out of cheese when talking to younger students - it always gets a laugh :-)

    When talking to students about the Moon and when they can see it, they're often surprised to hear that you can see the Moon during the day depending on its phase, although it is a bit trickier to spot it against the bright...

  • Great answer! We can't observe the nuclear reactions taking place at the centre of the Sun, but we can observe and feel some of the products of those reactions - heat and light

  • Welcome to Week 3 everyone :-)

    We've got quite a bit to cover, so let's get going!

  • We've reached the end of Week 2! It's been fantastic working with all of you :-)

    Do you have any questions about anything that's been covered so far? If so, post them in the comments below and I will be happy to answer them.

    See you all in Week 3 :-)

  • These are tricky topics for students and they often confuse the spin of a planet with its orbit which then leads to misconceptions. A common misconception I have encountered from students who confuse the concepts of spin and orbit, is that the reason we have night and day is because the Earth orbits the Sun.

  • I fully agree that the disconnect with what's taught in the classroom and the real world is a big problem. I remember talking to a group of students and asking them if they thought the mathematics and science they were learning at their level had any relevance in everyday life. They all said that it didn't, and were quite surprised when I gave them examples...

  • We're happy to hear that you found the misconceptions about the seasons useful :-)

  • Time flies when you're having fun! Thanks for taking part in week 1 and we hope that you're enjoying the course so far.

    Week 2 is going to cover a number of interesting topics - see you there!

  • There are many wonderful resources out there that you would be able to use and I'm sure your students will enjoy going exploring topics that might not necessarily be part of the curriculum. Some topics might even spark questions that you can then tie back in to the curriculum.

  • Thanks for the great feedback :-)

  • We're delighted that you enjoyed watching this video :-) If you would like to show it to your students, you can find this video along with our other educational animated videos, on our Vimeo channel: https://vimeo.com/royalobservatory

  • I can relate to point 4 - there are so many schools that don't have fully equipped laboratories which means that their students never have the opportunity to do experiments.

  • @AveMarieRecluta Students sometimes get confused with the two movements that the planets make, so a great way to avoid this confusion is to say that planets revolve (or go around the Sun). While the planets go around the Sun, they also rotate (or spin) and this spinning motion produces day and night.

  • This is a great answer :-) Including that the Sun emits light and heat is a nice way of getting students to then think about how the Sun emits heat and light.

  • Welcome to week 2 everyone!

    Looking forward to working with all of you this week and diving into some interesting topics :-)

  • Welcome to week 2 everyone!

    Looking forward to working with all of you this week and diving into some interesting topics :-)

  • Time flies when you're having fun!. Thanks for taking part in week 1 and we hope that you're enjoying the course so far. Week 2 is going to cover a number of interesting topics - see you there!

  • We're delighted to hear you're enjoying the course :-)

  • When I was a secondary school student, I used to get so frustrated when students were actively discouraged from doing science (by friends, family and sometimes teachers too). Science is an amazing subject that can open so many wonderful career paths and students should be encouraged to study science. Having engaging classes at school, a point that you've...

  • This is a great variety of techniques and activities :-)

  • Great answer! By mass, the Sun is about 70.6% hydrogen and 27.4% helium.

  • Hello everyone and welcome to this run of `Our Solar System and Beyond: Teaching Primary Science'. I will be facilitating this course from 31 May - 20 June and look forward to meeting and interacting with all of you :-)

    Well be covering some great topics during this course and I hope that you will enjoy it and find it rewarding. Let's jump straight in to...

  • We're delighted to hear that you enjoyed the course :-) Wishing you clear skies and many happy nights of observing when you test out your telescope (if you'd like any advice on what type of telescope to consider purchasing, let me know).

  • We're delighted to hear that you enjoyed the videos and that you've shared our Seasons video :-)

  • Great idea! This would combine many different areas of science :-)

  • Students often don't realise that science is happening all around them and I think that if we can make students recognise that and encourage them to observe the world around them, it will spark their curiosity and they will want to learn more.

  • A great example to use when talking to students about red stars being cooler in temperature compared to blue stars (which is counterintuitive), is to talk about a piece of metal being heated in a fire. As the metal begins to heat up, it starts to glow with a red colour and as the temperature continues to increase, the colour will change from red to...

  • Thanks for the great feedback :-)

  • We're delighted to hear that you enjoyed the video :-)

  • This is a great point and one I'm sure many people can relate to (as has already been done below). In my final year of secondary school, we had to do a number of review sessions of the previous year's science lessons due to concerns that we were not fully prepared for our final year. Those review sessions were beneficial and allowed me to identify weak points...