Educational Resources and Online Training

We have developed a large number of resources aimed at helping to deliver subjects such as Physics, Maths and Technology in the classroom through the medium of Astronomy. For more information on these resources, or to download them, please go to our resources and online training portal.

Research-based Science Education

Free access for UK teachers and students has allowed us to more tightly focus our education programme on what has always been our key objective, getting students doing research-based science education.

What is Research-based Science Education?

Research-based learning involves students learning science through doing scientific investigations. This means students solving problems using real science data that they have either obtained themselves through their own scientific observations or data acquired from other sources. Students have a greater degree of autonomy in deciding what and how they carry out their investigations, with help from a teacher and where possible professional scientists that is targeted at the ability level of the students.

Research-based learning is such a broad area that there is not enough space to go into the full details of what is possible here. However, a few examples of possible approaches you can use with the Faulkes Telescopes are mentioned below:

  • student devised investigations.
  • teacher guided investigations.
  • collaboration with other students.
  • collaboration with professional scientists.

You can find more details on our page Some Approaches to Research-Based Learning.

What are the Benefits?

Research-based learning has benefits for both students and teachers, but it does mean that we have to realise that the idea that the teacher is the source of all knowledge in the class is not the case, and accept that teachers can't provide the answers to all of the questions students might ask when students define their own investigations.

In research-based learning, teachers act as facilitators of learning rather than the source of knowledge and answers.

Benefits for Students

  • students are motivated by being allowed to take responsibility for their own learning.
  • critical thinking skills are developed as students have to make their own decisions.
  • teamwork can be an important element in research-based learning and students develop skills in working with others (students and professionals).
  • students are inspired by working with professionals who have enthusiasm for their field of expertise.
  • research-based learning is ideal for gifted and talented students, and as extension work for other able students.

Benefits for Teachers

  • a switch to finding activities that promote research-based learning can lead to less work for the teacher in having to develop content driven lessons.
  • less time standing delivering content to students as the emphasis is moved away from teaching and towards learning with students taking some responsibility for their education.
  • students feeling ownership of their learning can be a very motivating factor and lead to a reduction in potential problems in the classroom such as poor behaviour and poor attendance.

For information on how you and your students can start using the Faulkes Telescopes for Research-Based Learning, see our Start Guide for Teachers.