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  • Outreach for Schools

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    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 astro@ljmu.ac.uk



    Work Experience Week

    Each year we welcome 15 A-Level students 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).


    • The next work experience week is Monday 10th - Friday 14th July 2017) - applications invited through our online form.
    • The application process opens Thursday 1st December 2016 and closes Tuesday 28th February 2017. 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.png information 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 (especially after-school sessions).


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    Previous School Events

    The NSO Stand

    The Association for Science Education: Their annual conference attracts over 3000 delegates and includes 350+ talks and workshops ranging from Academic lectures and exhibitions, to a social programme and themed days. The NSO team attend this event most years, both in England and Scotland. We also sometimes attend the Irish Science Teachers' Association conference. If you would like us to exhibit or run workshops at your teacher conference please contact us on astro@ljmu.ac.uk


    • Limerick 2016, Aberdeen 2015, Birmingham 2014, Reading 2013, Liverpool 2012


    The Big Bang UK Young Scientists and Engineers Fair:

    This is the UK’s largest celebration of STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) for young people, and is the largest youth event in the UK. The fair takes place annually and is led by EngineeringUK in partnership with over 200 organisations across government, industry, education and the wider science and engineering community.


    • 10th July 2012, St Georges Hall, Liverpool
    • 26th June 2013, St Georges Hall, Liverpool


    Work Experience Week (WexWeek):

    Since 2012 the ARI has hosted a week long work experience (usually the first or second week of July) for students to learn more about what it is to be an astronomer. Around 15 students are supervised for two days by members of the ARI Staff and PhD Students whose job it is to guide their research in the right direction, help with problems as and when they arise and take part in the final day presentation and report marking.


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