Bringing cutting edge Astrophysics into the classroom

gaia_RGB_cropped.pngOn Friday 21st February, the FT team, together with  members of the ESA Gaia Alerts team from Cambridge University, ran a successful teacher training workshop at the Uni of South Wales, based around bringing cutting edge science into the classroom.

The workshop, organised by Techniquest, introduced local teachers to the Gaia mission (which aims to map a billion stars in our galaxy) and set out how they could use this exciting  project in the classroom to help teach aspects of the STEM curriculum.

During the day, Cambridge astronomers Anna Hourihane and Heather Campbell outlined the Gaia spacecraft and the science programme to the teachers, and a lively discussion was held about where this could all fit into what students need to learn.

This was followed by practical examples by Sarah Roberts and Paul Roche of FT, on resources that schools could use to aid teaching difficult concepts in astronomy. One of the purposes of this day was to gather feedback from teachers on what types of resources they would find most helpful for using in the classroom, linked to the Gaia mission, as this is a project that the FT and Cambridge teams are currently working on.

Some great ideas came out of discussions with the teachers, and plans are underway for further CPD sessions and classroom resources linking astrophysics research with classroom teaching.

A second workshop for teachers in N Wales is already planned for 11th April in Llandudno, so if you're a secondary school teacher and would like to come along, sign up here.

A national teacher CPD session run by STFC is also planned for June (with a second day in October) and you can read more about this here