The largest teacher-training event ever run by the School of Physics and Astronomy was held on Friday 3rd February with 30 welsh teachers receiving new activities, interactive resources and digital technologies for the classroom. A second event took place at the Centre for Alternative Technology on Thursday 9th February, inviting educators from schools in North, Mid and West Wales to join. Cardiff University’s Sarah Eve Roberts and Edward Gomez of Las Cumbres Observatory, led the events where cutting-edge astronomical research was bought back down to Earth.
The primary and secondary school teachers were introduced to a vast range of topics with lots of innovative STEM materials, covering areas as wide ranging as Our Planet, the Solar System and the Wonderful Universe Beyond, created by the Universe in the Classroom and Space Awareness programmes. All the teachers were also able to carry out observations using the Las Cumbres Observatory global network of robotic telescopes over the internet. Teachers used the Las Cumbres Observatory global network of robotic telescopes over the internet to carry out observations in real-time.
Sarah Eve Roberts said “There are an amazing number of resources available to welsh educators teaching STEM, at both primary and secondary level. The event gave us the opportunity to ensure teachers have the confidence and support needed to use them to carry out science lessons that astonish and engage students”.
This professional development support for teachers in partnership with academics and education providers was made possible through the National Science Academy funded Universe in the Classroom project (UitC) led by Sarah and the School’s Professor Haley Gomez. It was also the first time UitC partnered with the multi-national space awareness programme, Space Awareness which aims to inspire a new generation of space explorers.
The leader of the Welsh node of Space Awareness, Dr Edward Gomez, commented “One thing we really wanted to do is to promote and address equality and inclusivity within the classroom. We were able to discuss these issues using the No Such Thing as a Stupid Question comic book created in partnership with local artist Laura Sorvala, and other Space Awareness activities. There should be no barriers to anyone who wishes to do science”.