Education workshops

As part of an education visit to Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre, your learners can experience up to two of our interactive workshops. Please browse our selection below and choose the workshops you would like to book.

Workshops are led by one of our expert presenters and have been linked to key learning in the National Curriculum and qualification specifications. Each workshop lasts 50 minutes.

We have developed downloadable resources for each workshop, which can be used to extend learning back at school.

Each workshop also has an associated risk assessment, which can be downloaded from our risk assessment page.

Full list of workshops:

EY/KS1/KS2/KS3/KS4/Post-16: Inflatable Planetarium

A presenter led, fully customisable session in our Inflatable Planetarium, suitable for all year groups. Primary school learners explore the current night sky; viewing the seasonal constellations as imagined by the Ancient Greeks and exploring the visible planets.

Secondary school and sixth form learners discuss more advanced topics, including the life cycle of stars, cosmic structure and the expanding universe.

Learners also have the opportunity to put their questions to our presenter. Please let your presenter know if there is anything in particular you want to focus on!

Please note this workshop is a dark and quiet environment and involves sitting on the floor for the duration (although this workshop is still accessible for those with wheelchair needs). This workshop contains no hands-on elements and is a visual presentation.

The Inflatable Planetarium has limited availability: typically a maximum of 4 groups per day.

Curriculum links

  • EY: Listening & attention; Understanding; Shapes
  • KS1: Listen and respond; Ask relevant questions; Maintain attention and participate actively; Listening to a wide range of stories; Becoming familiar with traditional tales; Light & dark (IPC: Seeing the light)
  • KS2: Light; Earth & Space; Ancient Greeks
  • KS3: Gravity; Sun as a star; Galaxies; Light years
  • KS4 & Post-16: Types of stars; Life cycle of stars; Nuclear fusion & nucleosynthesis; Galaxies and large-scale structure; Expanding universe
Downloadable materials 

There are lots of online resources to help learners explore the night sky – see our teaching resources page for our recommendations!

KS1: Destination Space!

In this workshop your pupils will find out what life was like for British astronaut Tim Peake during his amazing time on board the International Space Station. Along the way, they’ll pack their bags for space, discover what different items are used for in space, and make their own rockets to take home!

Please note, this workshop cannot be booked in conjunction with the ‘Journey into Space’ workshop as it contains some of the same activities.

Curriculum links

  • Science: Basic needs of animals, including humans, for survival
  • Art: Use a range of materials creatively
  • IPC: Science – Push Me, Pull You! (Forces)
Downloadable materials 

KS1: Journey into Space

In this workshop your pupils will learn about the incredible journey of Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins during the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon in 1969. Along the way, they’ll pack their bags for space, discover what different items are used for in space, and make their own rockets to take home!

Please note, this workshop cannot be booked in conjunction with the ‘Destination: Space’ workshop as it contains some of the same activities.

The Apollo 11 lunar landing mission crew, pictured from left to right, Neil A. Armstrong, commander; Michael Collins, command module pilot; and Edwin E. Aldrin Jr., lunar module pilot.

Curriculum links

  • Science: Basic needs of animals, including humans, for survival
  • History: Lives of significant individuals – Neil Armstrong
  • Art: Use a range of materials creatively
  • IPC: Science – Push Me, Pull You! (Forces)
Downloadable materials 

KS1: Planet Mission

In this hands-on exploratory workshop, your pupils will discover what different planets look, sound, feel and smell like! Using their different senses they’ll learn what it’s like on Mercury, Venus, Mars and the Gas Giant planets.

Curriculum links

  • Moving and handling
  • The world
  • Making relationships
Downloadable materials

KS2: Solar System Science

In this hands-on and engaging workshop pupils complete a series of experiments which explore a variety of science concepts, each linked to the Solar System. Pupils work in teams to use and develop their investigative skills. Experiments include; exploring the strength of gravity on different planets, investigating the brightness of sunlight throughout the Solar System, discovering how craters are formed and performing a series of tests to identify a real meteorite!

Our consolidation materials (available below) allow pupils to analyse and interpret their results back at school.

This workshop is recommended for Years 5 and 6. Pupils must be able to read and follow written instructions. We also recommend that at least three adults are present to support pupils’ activities, in addition to our presenter.

Curriculum links

  • Science: Working scientifically
  • Science: Earth and space
  • Science: Forces (gravity)
  • Science: Rocks
  • Science: Forces (magnetism)
  • Science: Light (the Sun)
  • English: Reading and comprehension
Downloadable materials

KS2: Destination Space!

In this interactive workshop, your pupils will learn about British astronaut Tim Peake and his mission to the International Space Station. They’ll learn some of the key skills needed to be not only an astronaut, but a scientist or engineer working in the space industry. After some mission training and an exciting rocket demonstration, the hands-on mission activities begin! Pupils must correctly construct and test a circuit, to check all parts are working safely, plus take measurements of their own health and fitness data!

Curriculum links

  • Science: Working scientifically
  • Science: Earth and space
  • Science: Forces (gravity)
  • English: Reading and comprehension
  • Science: Current space mission
Downloadable materials 

KS2/KS3: Mars Rover Challenge

In this hands-on, team-building workshop, pupils learn about the exploration of Mars by the current Curiosity rover, along with the engineering challenges in landing crafts on another planet. Teams of pupils must then construct a device out of limited resources, to safely land their own fragile cargo!

This workshop is suitable for Years 3 to 9. Please note this workshop makes use of balloons and raw eggs.

Curriculum links

  • Science: Working scientifically
  • Science: Forces (gravity, resistive)
  • English: Spoken language
  • D&T: Design & Make
  • Science: Mars
  • Science: Current space mission
Downloadable materials

KS3: The Sun

This session uses a number of practical, hand-on activities to deepen your pupils’ understanding of their closest star. The workshop covers topics including; the colour of the Sun and the nature of white light, how heat is transferred from the Sun to Earth, and how the solar wind and Earth’s magnetic field interact to create aurorae. An infrared camera demonstration and an ultraviolet activity are among the highlights of this workshop.

Please note, this workshop cannot be booked in conjunction with the ‘Explore Your Universe’ workshop [Widening Participation workshop only] as it contains some of the same activities.

Curriculum links

  • Science: Light waves
  • Science: Transfer of heat via radiation
  • Science: Energy in matter
  • Science: Space physics
  • Science: Magnetism
  • Science: The Sun as a star
Downloadable materials

KS3: Gravity

In this hands-on workshop your students will learn about the classical force of gravity, as described by Sir Isaac Newton. Students perform a practical, data-logging based investigation to determine the strength of gravity on Earth. Students then use a 3D model of space to better imagine the force of gravity acting on objects like stars and planets.

This workshop was developed as part of the STFC funded Big Telescopes: Big Science project. The lesson plan and digital resources for this workshop can be downloaded to run in schools.

Curriculum links

  • Science: Scientific attitudes
  • Science: Experimental skills
  • Science: Forces
  • Science: Light waves
  • Science: Space physics
Downloadable materials

  • Project page
  • (includes lesson plan and digital resources to run in schools)

KS3: Newton & The Space Station

In this interactive and engaging workshop, pupils will deepen their understanding of forces and Newton’s laws by exploring and comparing the motion of objects on Earth and in space. This includes a variety of practical activities and demonstrations, as well as learning what life is like for astronauts aboard the International Space Station.

Please note this workshop makes use of balloons.

Curriculum links

  • Science: Forces
  • Science: Balanced forces
  • Science: Forces and motion
  • Extra: The International Space Station
Downloadable materials 

GCSE: Exoplanets

This challenging and engaging workshop uses a combination of practical activity, current astronomical research and mathematics to deepen students’ understanding of electromagnetic waves, the universe and the work of astronomers. Students collect data using a practical activity that replicates the transit method of detecting exoplanets. They then analyse their results, by rearranging mathematical equations, to determine some properties of their exoplanet.

This workshop was developed as part of the STFC funded Big Telescopes: Big Science project. The lesson plan and digital resources for this workshop can be downloaded to run in schools.

Curriculum links

  • Electromagnetic spectrum
  • Case study: Examples of big telescopes
  • Case study: Exoplanet research
  • Practical data collection
  • Using and rearranging equations
  • Interpreting results
Downloadable materials

  • Project page
  • (includes lesson plan and digital resources to run in schools)

GCSE: Spectroscopy

In this hands-on and engaging workshop students learn about spectroscopy and how astronomers use it. They observe first-hand the emission spectra of different materials and investigate the absorption lines from different stars, which demonstrates nucleosynthesis and stellar evolution. Students also learn about the Doppler shift and redshift. Through an interactive activity students deepen their understanding of how this is evidence for an expanding universe.

Please note this workshop makes use of balloons. This workshop should not be booked in conjunction with the Discover the Universe workshop, as it shares some activities.

Curriculum links

  • The electromagnetic spectrum
  • Spectroscopy: Emission spectra & absorption lines
  • Spectra of stars & nucleosynthesis
  • The Doppler effect & redshift
  • The expanding universe & the Big Bang
Downloadable materials

BTEC: Discover the Universe

In this workshop students learn about how astronomers observe the sky and what this tells us. Students find out why astronomers use both ground and space based telescopes to image the whole EM spectrum, investigate the difference between refracting and reflecting telescopes with hands on activities, observe different emission spectra and gain knowledge of the Big Bang theory and the evidence for it.

Please note this workshop makes use of balloons. This workshop should not be booked in conjunction with the Spectroscopy workshop, as it shares some activities.

Curriculum links

  • EM Spectrum
  • Ground and space telescopes
  • Reflecting and refracting telescopes
  • Redshift and expanding universe
  • CMB and evidence for Big Bang
Downloadable materials

A-level Physics: Radio Telescopes

In this workshop we introduce students to the use of radio telescopes. They investigate why the parabolic structure of the Lovell Telescope is essential and how the size of a telescope relates to its resolution. Then, using real data collected by the 6.4m telescope at Jodrell Bank, students calculate the rotation speed and mass for the Triangulum galaxy.

All students should bring a pencil, ruler and calculator to this session. Due to the advanced maths and physics content, students should be studying A-level physics or equivalent to take part in this workshop.

Curriculum links

  • Multi-wavelength astronomy
  • Focusing rays
  • Resolving power
  • Interferometry
  • Pulsars
  • Redshift
  • Interpreting data
  • Using and rearranging equations
Downloadable materials

A-level Physics: Pulsars

 

Pulsars are a major area of research at the Jodrell Bank Observatory, with around 50% of the Lovell telescope’s time spent observing pulsars. In this workshop students will get an insight into current pulsar research, and the work of astronomers. Students will learn about the formation of pulsars (linked to the life cycle of stars), and their discovery in 1967, before calculating a pulsar rotation rate, using the concept of conservation of angular momentum. Finally students learn how astronomers hunt for pulsars and what plotting pulsar data tells us about their evolution.

This workshop was developed thanks to an STFC funded Public Engagement Award.

Curriculum links

  • Pulsars
  • Life cycle of stars
  • Conservation of angular momentum
  • Interpreting data
  • Using and rearranging equations
Downloadable materials

  • Coming soon!