Learning Resources

Here you can find a variety of downloadable resources and links on astronomy and space topics.

If you’ve recently visited us on an educational trip, you can also download consolidation materials for our interactive workshops. These can be found on our workshops page.

Shared resources

Children’s University of Manchester (Earth and Beyond section)

The Children’s University of Manchester is an online interactive learning portal, developed by the University of Manchester. The Earth and Beyond section has been developed by Professor Tim O’Brien.

 

AstroEDU

astroEDU is a sharing platform for astronomy-themed education resources, but all resources on this site have been peer-reviewed by science communication experts. This means you’re guaranteed top-quality activities, which are scientifically accurate and relevant.

 

ESERO-UK: European Space Education Resource Office

Free resources, support and information for teachers to enhance the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), using space as a context.

 

IoP: Institute of Physics (teacher’s section)

Free resources for teachers including careers information for students and professional development.

 

STFC: Science and Technologies Funding Council (Resources and Publications)

Free leaflets, posters, wall charts and booklets to order, as well as educational films.

 

Science in a different light

Ever found yourself having to defend why we study science? ‘Science In A Different Light’ is a collection of videos and activities that aims to answer that question. These free resources are designed to be used by teachers and students to discuss, debate, and reflect on some of the key areas of contemporary scientific research in the UK, and meet the people behind the science.

 

European Space Agency (educators section)

Space-themed education resources relating to the European Space Agency’s missions.

 

ZooTeach (Science section)

The Zooniverse site contains many different citizen science projects to get involved in. On the ZooTeach site, you can find shared educational resources that complement these projects.

 

NASA (educators section)

Educational resources on astronomy and space topics.

 

Space facts

Exactly what it says on the tin!

Night sky observing

Jodrell Bank’s Night Sky list

Emeritus Professor Ian Morison compiles a monthly list of what to look out for in the night sky.

 

Constellation spotting guide

Our handy leaflet to help you spot some of the brightest constellations in the sky.

 

Google Sky App for Android Phones

If you or any of your students have an Android powered smart-phone, you can download this free app from Google. Google sky lets you point your phone at the sky and tells you exactly what constellations you are looking at. Comparable apps are also available for iPhone users.

 

Stellarium

Free program to download for PCs. Simulates the night sky from any location on Earth. Predict the location of constellations, deep-sky objects and Solar System objects like the planets and the Moon.

 

Heavens-Above

Extremely useful and powerful astronomy website. Select your location to generate an accurate sky-map. You can also create Moon phase calendars and check when satellites, including the International Space Station will be visible from your location.

 

Spot the Station

Website for tracking the International Space Station. Type in your location and it will tell you when it’s passing overhead!

Citizen science

Citizen science projects allow people to get involved in real science, and contribute to actual research!

 

Galaxy Zoo

Help scientists classify millions of galaxies found in the Sloan Digital Sky Survey.

 

Planet Four

Help planetary scientists identify and measure features on the surface of Mars.

 

Galaxy Zoo Radio

Help astronomers discover supermassive black holes!

 

Sunspotter

Help astronomers study how sunspots change over time and how they produce eruptions on the surface of the Sun.

 

Planet Hunters

Help in the search for exoplanets! (planets outside our Solar System, orbiting other stars)

 

Comet Hunter

Help astronomers find comets lurking in the asteroid belt!

 

Sungrazer

The Sungrazer Project is a NASA-funded program than enables the discovery and reporting of previously unknown comets.

 

Disk Detective

Help find newly forming planets in our Milky Way Galaxy, by looking for dusty debris disks!

 

AAVSO

Help the American Association of Variable Star Observers (AAVSO) to monitor and study variable stars.

@Home projects

@Home programs are like screen savers, but with a science purpose! Download one of these programs and when your computer’s idle, its processing power will be used to help crunch scientific data!

 

SETI@Home

SETI@Home uses internet-connected computers to help in the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI). The data has been collected from radio telescopes across the globe (including the Lovell telescope!).

 

EINSTEIN@Home

EINSTEIN@Home uses your computer’s idle time to search for gravitational waves, using data from LIGO gravitational wave detector.

 

LHC@Home

LHC@Home uses idle time on your computer to help physicist compare theory with results from the Large Hadron Collider at CERN. Help in the search for new fundamental particles and answer to questions about the universe!

Using and buying telescopes

There are telescopes which are available to be booked by education groups. You can then collect real observations with your learners. These websites also contain many excellent learning resources. Free registration is required to book telescope time.

 

If you’re interested in buying a telescope for educational purposes, here are some handy guides to help you consider which type to buy:

The Clangers! worksheets for EY & KS1

Primary school worksheets

Make your own radio image

Find out how radio telescopes, like the Lovell telescope at Jodrell Bank, create images of objects in space using radio waves.

 

Make your own Planisphere

Learners can create their own map of the night sky with this template. Match up the date and time to get a diagram of the constellations that evening. Accurate within the UK.

 

Moon Phase Model

Create a model of the Sun and Moon. By observing your model through different viewing windows, you can observe different phases of the Moon. This simulates the movement of the Moon around the Earth, giving us different views of the Moon and producing the Moon phases.

 

My Moon Diary

A blank calendar which can be used to observe the phases of the Moon over a five week period.

 

Phases of the Moon worksheet

Cut-and-stick exercise to show how the position of the Moon gives rise to the observed phases of the Moon.

 

Draw the constellations

Sixteen print-friendly images of the night sky (four points of the compass for each of the four seasons). Learners can use these to identify the constellations, or make up their own. You can use this with one of the ‘night sky observing’ tools, or our constellation spotting guide to pick out some of the patterns. Star positions will be accurate within the UK. This resource has been created using the Stellarium program.

The University of Manchester cannot be held responsible for the content of external sites.