Whether your students are Preschoolers, Year 7 or Year 12, astronomy is a proven means to engage them in doing real science. Introducing younger students to astronomy often develops a lifelong interest in this fascinating hobby, while for some it can lead to a strong interest in science as a career.
Many outcomes from across all QSA 1 to 10 Science Syllabus’ Strands can be taught using astronomy and related space sciences as the focus organizer. For example, when seeking to develop students’ understanding of life and its characteristics, what student will not be immediately interested by the concept of exobiology (extra-terrestrial life)?
There are so many questions to pose which link the broad spectrum of scientific disciplines and hence the syllabus’ Strands. How would we recognize a living organism which has evolved on another planet? What characteristics could define it conclusively as living? What might extra-terrestrial life look like if it exists? Would you expect it to use DNA for its genetic code? How might it sustain itself? If life exists out there, what technology do we need to locate it? In researching, discussing, debating and sharing ideas with others, students naturally will explore the links across many of the syllabus Strands’ Key Concepts.
If students do this investigation within the scenario of their being the astronomers who first discover extra-terrestrial life, they enthusiastically undertake astronomical observations, investigations and difficult mathematical calculations in order to develop their scientific reports which they subject to peer review by presenting them at a scientific conference or poster session (which they organize).
For further details on using astronomy to hook students into science contact the AAQ Education Officer or visit the highly recommended web sites listed on this page.