Astronomy, Inspiring Science Education, Physics, Schools, Secondary

Astronomy Data in Maths & Physics


Three lesson plans at three different levels designed to help students develop their maths and physics skills via application, as well as hoping to inspire an interest in astronomy in the process. During the lessons students will learn how to classify galaxies, determine the age of galaxies, and calculate the age of the Universe among other things – as well as developing their skills in constructing tables, charts and performing calculations . By the end of the lesson students should come away with an improved knowledge (and hopefully a renewed interest) in astronomy (particularly galaxies and supernovae), and improved confidence in various physics and maths skills.

The Lesson Plans

Statistics of Galaxies (KS3 and 4)

Two of the lesson plans are designed for Key Stage 3 and 4 Maths lessons. These lessons take data from Zooniverse’s Galaxy Zoo, and ask students to classify a sample of galaxies using a classification scheme. Students then practice their skills in constructing frequency tables, bar charts (KS3), histograms (KS4), and calculating measures of central tendency and spread. The lessons also ask the students to make logical deductions and draw conclusions about the nature of galaxies, and the relationship between accuracy and sample size.

Hubble’s Law (A-Level)

The third lesson plan is designed for an A-Level Physics lesson. This lesson takes data from the Supernova Cosmology Project and asks students to investigate Hubble’s Law. Students practice their skills in constructing tables, plotting graphs, performing graphical analysis and calculating uncertainties. The lesson also asks students to make logical deductions and draw conclusions about the expanding Universe, the accuracy of Hubble’s Law, and the relationship between accuracy and sample size.

Resources Packets

Each lesson plan has an associated Resources Packet, available for download in both PDF and Microsoft Office formats (with the exception of a single file available only as an Excel Spreadsheet). The resources can be tailored for both short and long lessons, as well as for foundation or higher-level students. Also included in the Resources Packets are teacher and student evaluations in order to conduct research into the pedagogy of such style lessons.

  • KS3 Maths Resources Packet [Download]
  • KS4 Maths Resources Packet [Download]
  • A-Level Physics Resources Packet [Download]

Resources designed and created by Victoria Ayley, 2018.

Image Credit: ESA, ESO & NASA.