Online Courses for Teachers, Students and the Public


Night Sky to the Universe

6 hour Course

This program is designed to provide students with an introduction to astronomy and the basic concepts that we consider to be theoretical minimum for a broad understanding of astronomy.

This course is also available as a Teacher PD – 2hrs/week.

Main themes:

Introduction to the Night sky, Telescopes and objects in the Universe
Cultural Astronomy

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12 hour Course

This program elaborates on the topics in the 3-week program. However, the program is framed in the context of a scaffolded inquiry-based project where students will use remote telescopes to capture images of astronomical objects, and create a color image.

This course is also available as a Teacher PD – 2hrs/week.

Added theme:

Telescopes and colour imaging

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20 hour Course

The term-long program goes deeper into the topics, all building up to understanding the evolution of the Universe. Students will use real archived data to work out the age of the Universe.

This course is also available as a Teacher PD – 2hrs/week.

Added theme:

Evolution of the Universe

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Stage 1: Introduction to Astronomy

Students are introduced to the field of Astronomy with a series of activities and quizzes. They explore the role of Astronomy in science and society. Students engage in discussions about their initial thoughts on Astronomy.

Stage 1: The Night Sky

Using a virtual night sky software students explore the night sky through guided-inquiry activities.

Stage 2: Cultural Astronomy

Using a virtual night sky software students explore the star lore from the Indigenous Australians, and learn how they used astronomy as part of their daily lives.

Stage 2: Objects in the Universe

Students explore the range of objects in the Universe from planets to the vast clusters of galaxies. They learn about the characteristics of each of the objects and where they are found in the Universe.

Stage 3: Observing objects in the Universe

Students having learned about the various objects in the Universe request images of the objects using remote robotic telescopes situated all around the world. They will explore the characteristics of these objects from the images.

Stage 1: Introduction to Astronomy

Students are introduced to the field of Astronomy with a series of activities and quizzes. They explore the role of Astronomy in science and society. Students engage in discussions about their initial thoughts on Astronomy.

Stage 2: The Night Sky

Using a virtual night sky software students explore the night sky through guided-inquiry activities. They learn about how the night sky changes throughout the year and from different locations. This will be vital when they begin their mini-project later in the program.

Stage 2: Cultural Astronomy

Using a virtual night sky software students explore the star lore from the Indigenous Australians, and learn how they used astronomy as part of their daily lives.

Stage 3: Telescopes and Imaging

Students learn about how telescopes work, and the various types of telescopes. They also learn about how telescopes capture images of astronomical objects.

Stage 4: Objects in the Universe

Students explore the range of objects in the Universe from planets to the vast clusters of galaxies. They learn about the characteristics of each of the objects and where they are found in the Universe.

Stages  5 and 6 : Mini Project – Colouring the Universe

This mini project involves students picking an astronomical object of their choice, and using the data from the telescopes to create a colour image of the object.

 

Stage 1: Introduction to Astronomy

Students are introduced to the field of Astronomy with a series of activities and quizzes. They explore the role of Astronomy in science and society. Students engage in discussions about their initial thoughts on Astronomy.

Stage 2: The Night Sky

Using a virtual night sky software students explore the night sky through guided-inquiry activities. They learn about how the night sky changes throughout the year and from different locations. This will be vital when they begin their mini-project later in the program.

Stage 2: Cultural Astronomy

Using a virtual night sky software students explore the star lore from the Indigenous Australians, and learn how they used astronomy as part of their daily lives.

Stage 3: Telescopes and Imaging

Students learn about how telescopes work, and the various types of telescopes. They also learn about how telescopes capture images of astronomical objects.

Stage 4: Distances in Astronomy

One of the most challenging aspects in Astronomy is appreciating the enormous sizes and scales involved. Students will explore how distances are measured in Astronomy.

Stage 5: Objects in the Universe

Students explore the range of objects in the Universe from planets to the vast clusters of galaxies. They learn about the characteristics of each of the objects and where they are found in the Universe.

Stage 6 : Galaxies

To truly understand the Universe, we need to understand galaxies, as they are vital to the large-scale structure of the Universe. Students explore the various types of the galaxies, their characteristics and how they grow and change.

Stage 7: Photometry

Students learn how astronomers use measurements of light to determine distances.

Stage 8: Making a Hubble plot

Students use archived data from telescopes to make careful measurements to plot the speed and distances to galaxies.

Stage 9: Working out the age of the Universe

Using the Hubble plot students created previously. Students learn how to analyse the Hubble plot and extract information about the Universe.

Stage 10: Evolution of the Universe

Using their newly acquired knowledge explore the evidence for the evolutionary history of the Universe.

 

 

 

 

The universe contains features including galaxies, stars and solar systems, and the Big Bang theory can be used to explain the origin of the universe

Elaborations

  • researching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples’ knowledge of celestial bodies and explanations of the origin of the universe
  • identifying the evidence supporting the Big Bang theory, such as Edwin Hubble’s observations and the detection of microwave radiation
  • recognising that the age of the universe can be derived using knowledge of the Big Bang theory
  • describing how the evolution of the universe, including the formation of galaxies and stars, has continued since the Big Bang

Star Cluster Depth Study

The is a 6 week program offered to students in Year 11/12, mapping to NSW Depth Study and Unit 2, Area of Study 2 of the VCE Physics Study Design. Students are introduced to the theoretical minimum about the overarching topic of Stars. The aim broad aims of the course involve:

  • Pick a star cluster to study
  • Develop a question related to some characteristic of star clusters
  • Use research-grade remote robotic telescopes to make observations of the chosen star cluster
  • Analyse the data
  • Interpret your findings and compare them with published results
  • Communicate your findings in the form of a scientific poster or report

This course is also available as a Teacher PD – 2hrs/week.

Lesson 1:
Introduction to Astronomy

Lesson 2:
Exploring the Night Sky

Lesson 3:
Distance in Astronomy

Lesson 4:
Telescopes and Imaging

Lesson 1:
Introduction to Stars

Lesson 2:
The Life cycle of Stars

Lesson 3:
The Life cycle of Stars

Lesson 4:
Introduction to Star Clusters

Lesson 1:
Characteristics of Star Clusters

Lesson 2:
Background research – Begin drafting structure of Report/Poster

Lesson 3:
Developing a research question

Lesson 4:
Introduction to using robotic telescopes

Lesson 1:
Request data from the robotic telescopes

Lesson 2:
Astronomical Skills and Techniques

Lesson 3:
Introduction to Python or Excel

Lesson 4:
Practice using archival data

Lesson 1:
Practice using archival data

Lesson 2:
Practice using archival data

Lesson 3:
Work on drafting different parts of report or poster

Lesson 4:
Work on drafting different parts of report or poster

Lesson 1:
Data Analysis

Lesson 2:
Data Analysis

Lesson 3:
Write and submit report/poster

Lesson 4:
Write and submit report/poster

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Independent Mentored Research Project

For Interested Students and Amateurs, NSW Year 12 Science Extension or International Baccaleureate Extended Essay

The is a 9 month program offered to students in Year 12 and is mapped to the NSW Science Extension Course, and the IB Extended Essay. The research project can be open to the students’ interest as long as it can be undertaken with the LCO telescopes available or with data mining. The topic will be chosen early on in the project, and we do recommend that the topic fall within the range of the four broad topic areas outlined on the OSS website:

  • Variable Stars
  • Open Clusters
  • Exoplanet Transits
  • Double Stars

The project is structured as a self-paced course with regular video conference meetings. As it is, by its nature, a more open-ended course, the exact breakdown of time is not easy to pin down, although the deadline for completion will be set by the relevant school requirement.

These are the general topic titles of each of the parts of the course:

Week 0
Orientation and Installation of relevant software
Troubleshooting technical issues

Week 1
Introduction to Research

Week 2
Familiarising yourselves with Imaging using Robotic Telescopes

Week 3
Some theoretical concepts in Astronomy suited to your project

Week 4
Learning about Literature Review

Week 5
Data Analysis Skills including coding

Week 6
Data Interpretation

Week 7
Writing a research paper

Week 8
Writing a research paper

Week 9
Going through a peer-review process

Week 10
Going through a peer-review process

Week 11
Refining your paper

Week 12
Finalising your paper

Some examples of topics have been:

  • Determining the distance and age of a star cluster which has not be studied in depth
  • Exoplanet transit timing
  • Refining orbits of Double Stars
  • Observations of Hubble’s first variable star in Andromeda
  • Pulsating stars used to measure the distance to a globular cluster

The research project is also available for any interested student or amateur astronomer to learn the techniques of modern observational astronomy.

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Teacher Consultation

We offer a one-off consultation session to help teachers begin developing their unit outline based on the Our Solar Siblings project. The setup sessions will account for 2 hours of documented Professional Development. During these sessions, we will present the resources and materials available, and help teachers map the resources to their plan and the Australian Curriculum as well as install necessary software. We are happy to answer questions via email (although we may send screencasts when there is something to present) when teachers get stuck as they go through the materials after the consultation.

Cost: $50 per teacher

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Teacher Professional Development Courses

Our Solar Siblings has a long experience in providing face-to-face and online professional development to individual teachers as well as groups of teachers from a single school to entire jurisdictions. As each situation can be very different to each other, we consider the nature and cost of each professional development session or course on a case-by-case basis.

The OSS team members can also work with the teacher/s to team teach as many lessons as the teacher requires, and have debrief sessions with the teacher. This will provide a PD opportunities for the teacher/s if they are not confident with the subject matter. The PD is customisable to the teacher/s’ requirements. This number of lessons and the mode can all be discussed prior to the teacher/s commencing their unit of study.

Depending on how many hours of interaction the teacher/s have with the OSS team member, teaching, planning, discussing. These will all count towards documented Professional Development hours.

Cost: contact us at inquiry@oursolarsiblings.com to discuss.

Astronomical Colour Imaging

This is a quick and basic introduction to colour imaging using robotic telescopes.

Cost: $100 per user

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Student Astronomy Tutorials

This is a 3-hour tutorial offered to students on any topic in astronomy they wish to discuss

Cost: $90 per 3 hours

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Cosmology in Schools

Within the Australian National Curriculum, there is explicit mention of topics relating to Cosmology, in Year 10 Science and Year 11 Physics.

We are currently developing new resources and pedagogical approaches to teaching Cosmology in schools. Our research team is made up of science education researchers and cosmologists. We are looking to recruit schools to participate in the research by piloting our resources.

At this stage we have developed a Conceptual Cosmology Survey that we would like schools to trial with their students.

If you teach Years 10 (Science), 11 (Physics) and 12 (Physics), and are interested in participating in the first stage of the this study, please contact us using the below form