Royal Observatory Greenwich

The Royal Observatory Greenwich is the home of Greenwich Mean Time and the Prime Meridian of the World. These resources, designed for students aged from seven years up to post-16, contain astronomy based practical activities linked to the curriculum at each key stage.

  • Key stage 2 activities include moons, the Solar System, magnetism, shadows and the spinning Earth.
  • Key stage 3 activities have students plotting constellations, and learning about orbits, seasons and the formation of the solar system.
  • Key stage 4 activities get students to look at different wavelengths, exoplanets, gravity, the history of the universe, the life cycle of stars and Kepler’s Third Law.
  • At Post-16, topics include Doppler shift, nuclear fusion, the evolution of the universe, the Kármán line and the Hubble constant.

Most activities have some ideas and questions for class discussion to be carried out before the activity, and many include high-quality animated videos. Some activities require access to software or an internet connection.

Resources

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Daytime Moon Viewing

This resource, from the Royal Observatory Greenwich, uses daytime viewing of the Moon to reinforce ideas learned in the classroom about light, shadow and the Moon itself. Advice is given on the best times to view the Moon, and the compulsory and optional equipment needed. By viewing the Moon during the day,...

Fruit Solar System

This activity, from the Royal Observatory Greenwich, helps students grasp the various sizes of planets in our Solar System using mostly fruit, with some other items. The class discussion before the activity encourages students to take an educated guess as to which...

Making Shadows

This activity, from the Royal Observatory Greenwich, looks at how shadows are formed and what affects their size, direction and shape. Students place an object at the centre of a sheet of paper, and use a torch to produce shadows of different length and direction.

This activity can be used as an introduction...

Human Sundial

In this activity, from the Royal Observatory Greenwich, students look at their shadow at different times of the day and measure differences in its size and direction. The activity needs to take place in the playground on a sunny day. A compass or an online map can be used to help work out which way is North on the...

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