Gaia in the UK

Taking the Galactic Census

Education

Information about outreach and educational resources is published in this section.

On this page:

Information about Gaia data releases

Information about Gaia data releases can be found in Data section of this website.

A summary of the contents of the Gaia Data Release 2 can be found on Gaia Data Release 2 page and a diagram summarising the contents of the Gaia Data Release 2 can be downloaded from Gaia Data Release 2 in numbers page.

See Gaia Data Release 1 page for description of Gaia Data Release 1.

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Robotic telescopes' projects for schools

Faulkes Telescope Project and Gaia Alerts follow up

The Faulkes Telescope Project is an education partner of Las Cumbres Observatory (LCO). LCO operates a network of research class robotic telescopes. Currently there are two 2-m telescopes, one in Hawaii and the other in Australia and a number of 1-m telescopes at sites across the world. For more up-to-date information on their location, visit Observatory sites page on the LCO website. These telescopes are available to teachers to use as part of their curricular or extra-curricular activities and are fully supported by a range of educational materials and a team of educators and professional astronomers. This allows schools to participate in follow-up observations of new objects discovered by the Gaia Alerts programme.

FTP runs teacher training workshops and provides access to online educational resources covering many aspects of astronomy, as support for the Gaia mission.

FTP website: http://www.faulkes-telescope.com/

FTP educational resources: http://resources.faulkes-telescope.com/

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National Schools' Observatory

The National Schools’ Observatory (NSO) has a mission to enable Access to the Universe for All by inspiring the next generation of scientists, programmers and engineers through the wonders of space. NSO provides free use of the 2-m robotic telescope, the Liverpool Telescope (LT). For more information on how to register with the NSO see https://www.schoolsobservatory.org/register

The NSO also provides access to educational resources supporting the teaching of science, technology and mathematics in the classroom environment. They can be found at https://www.schoolsobservatory.org/discover and https://www.schoolsobservatory.org/learn.

NSO website: https://www.schoolsobservatory.org/

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Educational resources

Resources available from this website

Inquiry-based classroom activities.

Further educational resources are under development specifically for Gaia and will be added to this page as they become available.

See Multimedia section of this website for Gaia and science videos and cartoons.

Download Gaia brochure.

Gaia posters.

Resources available from other websites

The websites listed below provide educational resources supporting science outreach and the teaching of astronomy and science.

Big Telescopes

Big Telescopes is one of the themes of the Science & Technology Facilities Council's (STFC) public engagement programme.

Big Telescopes website. Introduction to Big Telescopes and links to related websites and resources.

Big Telescopes A5 brochure and A0 wall poster. The brochure can be downloaded or ordered online from https://stfc.ukri.org/news-events-and-publications/publications/stfc-publications-order-form/.

Big Telescopes STEM collection and Teacher Notes.  The Teacher Notes are an introduction to the "Big Telescopes Collection" which is a set of existing telescoped-related teaching material that is held on the National STEM e-library. Available from: https://www.stem.org.uk/resources/elibrary/resource/34662/big-telescopes .

Big Telescopes CPD training for teachers. "CP trainers" day/meeting took place in the early 2015, to create a network of people able to run telescope-related CPD for teachers through the National Science Learning Centre's regional and local programmes. For more information see the STFC website.

Big Telescopes stories for planetaria and science centres. The STFC is working with national membership organisations for planetaria and science centres to provide short, topical packages of material on key telescope stories that they can be embed into their shows and activities. See also the Royal Observatory Visitor Centre and the Dark Sky Discovery websites.

Big Telescopes roadshow exhibition “Seeing the Universe in all its light”. The roadshow was decommissioned in March 2018, by which time it had completed 35 events at 32 venues, travelled over 10,800 miles around the UK and, over the course of 321 days, captured the attention of over 167,400 people at venues including the Houses of Parliament, the National Assembly for Wales, Cardiff, the Edinburgh International Science Festival and the Big Bang Fair at Birmingham NEC. For more information visit: https://stfc.ukri.org/www.stfc.ac.uk/news-events-and-publications/events/stfc-events/seeing-the-universe-in-all-its-light/.

Discover the Cosmos portal

Discover the Cosmos portal brings together resources, virtual experiments and online labs from the fields of Astronomy and High Energy Physics (HEP).

The Discover the COSMOS Repository is a database of educational resources, which includes educational content (photos, videos, animations, exercises, graphs, links) as well as the learning activities (structured lesson plans organized according to specific pedagogical models such as inquiry based Learning and Guided Research). Registered users can upload their own materials to the Discover the COSMOS Repository.

Discover the Cosmos portal website:  http://portal.discoverthecosmos.eu/

ESA resources

Outreach resources (Gaia brochure, posters, flyers, videos and images):  http://sci.esa.int/gaia/52885-outreach-resources/

ESA References section: articles on spacecraft, astronomy/cosmology, fundamental physics and history of space science http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Reference_section2

ESA Space for Kids: http://www.esa.int/esaKIDSen/

Little books of Gaia (for children): http://sci.esa.int/education/35010-little-books-of-gaia/

ESA Education section (a wide range of resources for formal and informal science education): http://sci.esa.int/education/

ESA Teacher’s Corner (classroom resources and information about CPD teacher training):  http://www.esa.int/Education/Teachers_Corner

ESERO-UK collection

Space-related resources for supporting the teaching and learning of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) in schools and colleges throughout the UK, produced by the UK Space Education Resource Office (ESERO).

Available from: https://www.stem.org.uk/resources/elibrary/resource/34662/big-telescopes

EU Universe Awareness (EU-UNAWE)

The European branch of the global UNAWE programme offering resources aimed at children aged 4 to 10 years, especially those from underprivileged communities.

EU-UNAWE Cosmos in Your Pocket Activity Book is a booklet inspired by The 826 Pocket Activity Book and illustrated by Irene Cécile: download EU-UNAWE Cosmos in Your Pocket Activity Book (PDF, 2.5 MB) or visit the EU-UNAWE Cosmos in Your Pocket Activity Book page.

Royal Astronomical Society - Educational Resources Search

A searchable database of high-quality resources on topics in astro- and geophysics, vetted by the RAS and by practicing Science teachers. The resources can be searched on the following criteria: age group, UK nation, topic and curriculum specification.

Available from: http://www.ras.org.uk/component/db/?task=search&form_id=15

Royal Observatory Greenwich

Astronomy resources: https://www.rmg.co.uk/discover/explore/space-stargazing

Classroom resources (Key Stage 2 – post-16): https://www.rmg.co.uk/schools-communities/learning-resources

Las Cumbres Observatory

As well as enabling schools to observe with its network of robotic telescopes (see the Faulkes Telescope Project section), LCO also provides access to a wide range of supporting educational activities.

Hands-On Universe (EU-HOU)

The EU-HOU project is a collaboration of teachers and scientists from European countries. The project aimed to improve teaching of science at schools and stimulate students’ interest in science through the use of real, mainly astronomical, data. Exercises, descriptions of hands-on activities and classroom experiments, and supporting material (including SalsaJ software for analysis of astronomical images) are available from the website. The EU-HOU portal comprises the main, European, and 15 national websites.

The EU-HOU Portal is available at: http://www.euhou.net/

Gaia page in Polish section of the EU-HOU: http://www.pl.euhou.net/index.php/wiadomoci-mainmenu-49/319-gaia-start

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Past activities

Public engagement activities

Big Telescopes

See Big Telescopes in Websites section above.

Public Engagement with the Gaia and Rosetta Space Missions - UK Coordination meeting

The meeting was held at the Open University, Milton Keynes, on 16 December 2013, 11.00 – 15.45. Download the agenda for the meeting.

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CPD courses for teachers

Big Telescopes

See Big Telescopes in Websites section above.

NV201A13: Space as a Context for Teaching Science - The Gaia Spacecraft Mission

This is a 4-day course for further education lecturers, post-16 teachers and secondary teachers. The course was held at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory in June (3 days) and at the National Science Learning Centre in York in October. More information about the course can be found on Science Learning Centres website.

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Page last updated: 26 May 2018