Space Science: UK and SA schools
This is a year-long videoconferencing project between two schools in the London area of the UK and two schools from the Cape Town area of South Africa and the University of Cambridge. We plan to hold six videoconferences between October 2004 and July 2005, connecting the schools with Cambridge - on Oct 21 and Dec 1, Jan 27 and Mar 15, Apr 28 and Jun 21, all conferences starting at 13.15pm UK time (so the Oct, Apr and Jun VCs will start at 14.15pm SA time, and the Dec, Jan and Mar VCs at 15.15pm) and lasting for between 1 and 1 1/2 hours.
The first VC of each pair will be an opportunity to develop a new aspect of the topic, with an interactive conference between Dr Lisa Wright of the Institute of Astronomy and the students. Students will be given questions to discuss and short tasks to carry out, and we hope they will also ask questions of their own during these VCs.
At the second of each pair of VCs, students will be asked to give a presentation of the work they have done since the previous VC, and answer questions from the other schools and from the speaker. Some ideas will also be given for students to think about further before the next VC.
During the videoconferences we will study the Solar System, the Milky Way and finally the Universe. On this journey, students will find out about some of the mathematical and scientific ideas involved.
Term 1 (Oct-Dec 2004): The Solar System
In the first term, our focus is on gravity.
- the geometry of the solar system
- the force of gravity
- Newton’s Laws
- velocities of the planets
Term 2 (Jan-Mar 2005): The Milky Way and other galaxies
In the second term, our focus is on time and light.
- time and distance
- light and the electromagnetic spectrum
- galaxies and black holes
Term 3 (May-July 2005): The Universe
- how is the universe changing?
- use Hubble’s Law to find Hubble’s constant
- use this to estimate the age of the universe
Follow-up work for Term 1
Lisa's PowerPoint slides (4.9MB).
Scale in the Solar System
The Discovery of the Solar System
Galileo and Newton: motion
Looking at patterns
Follow-up work for Term 2
Time and distance
Light and the electromagnetic spectrum
- Measuring galaxies
- Spirals and ellipses
- Logo programs for spirals
- Galaxies and the formation of life
Follow-up work for Term 3
Lisa's PowerPoint slides (4.8MB)
- Hubble's Law and the expanding Universe
- Measuring astronomical distances
- The Doppler effect and astronomy
- Evidence of the Big Bang
- Dark matter
- The fate of the Universe