Outreach for Schools

National Schools' Observatory

The NSO Moonsaic at schoolsobservatory.org.uk

The ARI has a dedicated team working on the National Schools' Observatory (NSO) project, launched in 2004 and currently engaging with more than 3,500 teachers in the UK and Ireland.


It has long been known that astronomy creates a sense of excitement and wonder in pupils of all ages. The NSO taps into that interest to further the pupil's knowledge of science and mathematics, while at the same time improve their computer literacy and communications skills, strengthen critical thinking and give experience of the real-world application of science and technology.


The NSO makes it possible for young people to study some of the amazing things that can be seen in the night sky for themselves with free access to the world's largest fully-robotic telescope, LJMU’s Liverpool Telescope.


Join us at the NSO and go hunting for asteroids, get weighed on Saturn or learn about black holes. Teachers can register with us and get their class making their own observations!


"The best free resource for teaching astronomy!" Andrea Fesmer, Physics teacher at St Peter and Paul College, Widnes.

 


In addition to the NSO project we also offer the following activities within your school, if you would like to speak to us about any of these please email @email

 

 

Work Experience Week

Each year we welcome 15 students, aged between 16 to 18, for a week long work experience programme. This week consists of talks, workshops and an in-depth group research project supervised by professional astronomers here in the department. The week culminates in the students producing a report and presenting their findings to the rest of the group and invited staff from the ARI. There is no charge for this work experience week; all we ask is that the students can easily commute to the ARI office in Liverpool City Centre (146 Brownlow Hill, Liverpool L3 5RF).

Some quotes from previous students:

It was such an informative and hands on week that I would recommend to anyone considering Physics at university in the future, as it really helped to affirm my choice of doing a Natural Sciences degree at university.

By Emma Durkin

All in all it was a really fun and interesting week, it provides a realistic insight into research jobs and student life at any university...I would highly recommend that all students apply to this, as it really was intriguing and provides amazing opportunities and a lot of information.

By Louis Wilks-Reeves

 

  • The next work experience week is Monday 6th - Friday 10th July 2020 - applications are open from Monday 2nd December 2019, you can apply here.
  • The application process will close on Friday 28th February 2020. We will let all applicants know whether they have been successful or not by the end of March.


Additional information can be found in our pdf.pnginformation sheet.

 

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Workshops and Talks

All Age Ranges

  • Introduction to Astronomy - Any group
    This general introductory interactive talk into the world of astronomy: What is the Universe made up of? How do we know? Where did the Universe begin and where will it end? Session can be adapted to any age group.


Primary

  • Creating Constellations - KS1-2
    This interactive session talks students through the contents of our Universe and what ancient astronomers saw when they looked to the skies, followed by students creating their own glow in the dark constellations.
  • Mission to Mars Interactive Workshop - Ideal for KS2 (or KS3)
    What would humans need to survive on Mars? This session will involve students designing their own base camps, and negotiating their way around a `Martian' surface using robot rovers.
  • Scale of the Solar System Interactive Workshop - Ideal for KS2 (or KS3)
    An introductory session on the solar system including the scale of the solar system and an interactive session using Play-doh to replicate the relative sizes of the planets.


Secondary

  • Hunting for Asteroids - KS3 and KS4
    Using data taken from the Liverpool Telescope and software specially developed for use in schools this interactive session will find and track asteroids in our solar system. The session can be developed by calculating the speed of each asteroid.
  • Image Processing - KS3 and KS4
    - Interactive workshop discussing the way we use telescopes to collect data, followed by a session on creating 3-colour images using real observations.
  • Mission to Mars Interactive Workshop - Ideal for KS3 (or KS2)
    What would humans need to survive on Mars? This session will involve students designing their own base camps, and negotiating their way around a `Martian' surface using robot rovers.
  • Scale of the Solar System Interactive Workshop - Ideal for KS3 (or KS2)
    An introductory session on the Solar System including the scale of the Solar System and an interactive session on the relative sizes of the planets.
  • Telescopes - KS4
    Interactive talk about professional telescopes, how they work, where they are and why we have to look at different wavelengths to gather information on astronomical objects.
  • Stars that go bang! Supernovae - Ideal for KS4 and KS5
    What happens when a star reaches the end of its lifetime? What is the difference between a core-collapse supernova and a thermonuclear one? This interactive talk will focus on the final stage of a star's life, and why we should care!
  • Life cycle of Stars - Ideal for KS4 and KS5
    What will happen to our Sun? How are stars born and how do they evolve? This talk will go over the life cycle of stars both low and high mass and discuss what we can learn by studying them.
  • Where can physics take me? Careers - Ideal for KS4 (or KS5)
    An interactive talk on the careers available to those with a physics degree, including short film interviews with physics graduates, and covering all of the most up-to-date statistics on employment, sectors and salaries.


Post-16

  • Creating a HR Diagram - KS5
    Looking specifically at the classification of stars, using data taken from the Liverpool Telescope to create a Herzsprung-Russell diagram.
  • Hidden Light - KS5
    Session looking at the electromagnetic spectrum and thermal radiation using an IR camera - specifically concentrating on classifying stars and calculating black body temperature.
  • Studying the Universe: Cosmology - Ideal for KS5
    Cosmology is the study of the large scale structure of the Universe and requires precise measurements and objects which can be seen at tremendous distances. This interactive talk looks at what the Universe is doing, and how we know!
  • Where can physics take me? Careers - Ideal for KS5 (or KS4)
    An interactive talk on the careers available to those with a physics degree, including short film interviews with physics graduates, and covering all of the most up-to-date statistics on employment, sectors and salaries.

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Careers Fairs

The Astrophysics Research Institute are also keen on attending careers fairs to highlight the numerous careers available to those with a physics degree, please get in touch if you have a fair coming up and would like us to attend.

 

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