Talks for Schools
I offer astronomical observing and a wide variety of talks on astronomical subjects. If you want an astronomical talk or activity that is not listed, or have any other queries, please
to email me using your default email client.
Duration: Talks typically last for about an hour, which includes about 15 minutes for questions/discussion, but this can be varied to suit your timetable. Observing sessions can be booked for from 1 hour to 4 hours, depending on the age of the pupils (I strongly recommend that they are limited to an hour except for GCSE Astronomy students and school astronomical societies).
Guided observation of the night sky with telescopes and binoculars. I will teach the young people the basics of navigating around the sky by identifying star patterns (including finding north) and star-hopping to find some deep sky objects (galaxies, star clusters, nebulae, etc.).
If the weather is unsuitable for observing, the fallback will be either a slide-show or some indoor astronomical activities.
Suitability: KS2 upward
These may include Moon phases, eclipses, constellation recognition, modelling the solar system, telescopes and binoculars.
Star Lore and Legends (Story-telling)
Myths and legends enliven the changing night sky and show how ancient peoples viewed their universe. In addition to the tales of the gods, goddesses and heroes of Greek mythology who are remembered in the constellations, there are options of legends and lore from African, Australasian, Babylonian, Celtic, Chinese, Egyptian, Finnish, Meso-american, Norse, and Roman traditions. There will normally be both Creation and Heroic myths, which will relate to constellations or planets which are currently visible. Specific requirements can usually be accommodated.
From Myths to Maths
This illustrated talk traces the development of ideas about the cosmos from the dawn of history to the 1st Century CE.
And Yet it Moves
Galileo famously muttered, "And yet, it moves." There was, however, no direct evidence of this until almost a century after his death, when James Bradley accidentally discovered the aberration of starlight whilst trying to determine stellar distances. This talk traces the story of heliocentricity.
Suitability: KS3&4; GCSE Astronomy
Journey Into Space
Space probes and telescopes have, in 3 decades, taught us more about our universe than was learned in the preceding 3 millennia. In addition, they have enhanced our understanding of our own planet as is illustrated in this journey from the Sun, through the Solar System, into Deep Space, encountering clusters, galaxies, and the birth and death of stars.
This illustrated presentation is adaptable to any level from KS2 upwards.
Time and Calendars
The measurement of time has always been a facet of Astronomy. The phases in the development of the Gregorian calendar most (but not all!) of us use today make a fascinating story which blends science, history, sociology, religion and psychology.
If you have any queries prior to booking, please to email me using your default email client.