National Astronomy Week Lesson Plans

Just over a month ago I was asked if I’d like to be involved in National Astronomy week (2014) by putting together some lesson plans. As this coincided nicely with a visit from OFSTED I managed to put a few ideas together for their website. I’ve included them below, they are still rather drafty and will need bulking out for any class but the overall ideas and structure are there (bit like the Edexcel SoW).  I’ve trialed a couple of these activities and have made resources that I’ll upload when I get a moment…. but now back to the EM waves lesson I’m planning for tomorrow.


Title: How did Galileo observe Jupiter?

Big Picture: How do we know the Sun is at the centre of the Solar System?

Lesson Overview: Students complete a practical investigation to build a simple refracting telescope like that of Galileo.

Learning outcomes:

Describe how observations provide evidence

Explain how light travels through concave and convex lenses

Design and build a telescope

Outline of activities:

Task 1: Explore Galileo’s observations

Task 2: Use concave and convex lenses with ray boxes to draw how light rays pass through lenses

Task 3: Measure the focal length of the lenses from a diagram

Task 4: Use your measurements to design a telescope that focuses light to a point.

Plenary: Write a tweet @NAW? to describe how a telescope is built


Title: Exploring Jupiter

Big Picture: How do spacecraft alter our view of the Universe?

Lesson Overview: Students will explore what we know about Jupiter. They will design mission to Jupiter and deliver a presentation to their peers.

Learning Outcomes:

List the main features of Jupiter

Design a scientific experiment

Evaluate scientific options and present a reasoned conclusion

Outline of activities:

Task 1: Picture of Jupiter and Moons in hall, students have to replicate the picture and answer levelled questions. The ones who get the most point get a prize.

Task 2: Comprehension on Jupiter task. In pairs the students read out a passage back to back on Jupiter – they then have 3 minutes to make notes that will be used in the next task.

Task 3: You are part of an international team (group of 3/4) who are putting together a bid to put a spacecraft around Jupiter. (Each group is a different nation and are given a primary task e.g. exploring Io, weather formation on Jupiter, the effects of impacts on Jupiter’s atmosphere). They have an information pack and have to put together a visual aid and a presentation on their mission. Each group is given 1 minute to present. Each presentation is given a rating out of 10 by their peers on both presentation and scientific content. All groups have to write a WWW and EBI for the other groups. The team of 4 have to give a percentage of effort for each student – if you use vivos offer 50 then this will force a non-even split. At the end all groups vote on best design.

Plenary: Students write a tweet that they would send from their spacecraft


Title: How important is Jupiter?

Lesson Overview: Students will gather information on Jupiter and will create a poster

Outline of activities:

Task 1: Gather information from around the room on Jupiter – create a mind map

Task 2: Create a poster on how Jupiter is important to life on the Earth (SL9 is the key here)

Task 3: Condense ideas into 140 character tweet @NAW?


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