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Teachers reach for the stars!

Last week (Friday 3 February) the LCO education team hosted a teacher training event in Cardiff University, jointly with School of Physics & Astronomy, Universe in the Classroom, and Space Awareness. It was the not only the largest teacher training event ever run at the School of Physics & Astronomy (with 35 registered teachers from across Wales) but was also our first event as official partners with Space Awareness.

The focus of the training was demonstrating how LCO and Space Awareness resources can be used not only for teaching science but also for cross-curricular activities. The LCO resources we were introducing to the teachers were the online resources; Messier Bingo, Asteroid Tracker, Star in a Box; and printed resources There's No Such Thing as a Stupid Question comic book, Cut-Out telescope model and the Activity Book. We also gave them training on a few different Space Awareness resources.

We had a mix of both primary and secondary teachers at the event, so we especially aware that the whole day should be broadly applicable to these 2 groups. Many of the teachers attended the day because they were interested in astronomy and wanted more opportunities for fitting it into their teaching. Instead of focussing on activities which were directly related to the astronomy parts of the national curriculum, we showed how astronomy resources could be used for teaching other subjects.

For example, LCO has telescopes all over the world, in our Activity Book you can find out to use this as a hook for teaching about timezones (which comes under the Geography part of the curriculum), or use Space Scoop to do space-themed literacy projects, or watch the Space Awareness role model videos which talk about STEM careers in the space industry.

Four teachers who had already used LCO and Space Awareness activities in their classes, were present and provided very useful feedback. It was clear from the discussion session we held during the training that space and astronomy are a big draw for students. We hope that through the resources and activities we showcased from LCO and Space Awareness, these teachers will be able to include more astronomy, and particularly the use of robotic telescopes, while teaching a variety of subjects.

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