Faulkes Project hosts first UK CLEA workshop
On Monday 8th December the Faulkes Telescope Project hosted the first Project CLEA (Contemporary Laboratory Experiences in Astronomy) teacher training workshop in the UK. Held at the School of Physics and Astronomy in Cardiff, 16 teachers from across the UK attended the workshop which was led by Dr Larry Marschall of Gettysburg College, Pennsylvania, USA.
The CLEA workshop covered a range of PC-based classroom activities which complement the educational programmes offered by the Faulkes Telescope Project. In the workshop, delegates worked through measuring the positions of the moons of Jupiter to find the mass of the planet, which was an excellent illustration of how to use Kepler's Laws. Next was an activity on pulsars, where attendees were shown how to use a virtual radio telescope to measure radio signals from pulsars in the Universe. Finally, Dr Marschall demonstrated the VIREO package - VIREO is a
simulated multi-wavelength observatory including optical, radio,
infrared, and x-ray instrumentation, very large-all-sky database, and access to catalog resources on the Web. The VIREO software provides an environment under which a wide variety of astronomical exercises can be carried out, from observations of asteroids, to searches for high-redshift quasars using a multi-slit spectrograph, and would be an excellent tool for easing students into observing before using a real telescope such as the Faulkes telescopes.
At the end of the day, teachers commented on how enjoyable and useful they found the workshop, with one teacher describing the whole day as 'superb'! Hopefully this enthusiasm will be passed onto all their pupils, using this excellent tool to help teach Physics and Maths in an innovative way in the classroom.
All CLEA resources are freely available and supported by extensive documentation, and can be found from the CLEA website at: http://www3.gettysburg.edu/~marschal/clea/CLEAhome.html.