ASELL Schools and CAASTRO in the Classroom Collaboration

20 October 2016

Students and teachers in the first ASELL School and CAASTRO in the Classroom collaboration. Credit: Tom Gordon.
Students and teachers in the first ASELL School and CAASTRO in the Classroom collaboration. Credit: Tom Gordon.

Two University of Sydney led national projects, ASELL Schools and CAASTRO ran a unique multi-institutional, inquiry-based workshop providing professional learning for High School teachers and science education for their students.

It was great to see physicists, chemists, educationalists and technology come together to fascinate teachers and students with a day full of investigations, creativity and science. A highlight of the workshop for me was when they used apps to measure facets of light using mobile phones simultaneously in five different locations across Australia, what an achievement! - Associate Professor Manjula Sharma

On Wednesday October 19 2016, an accredited science inquiry workshop for high school students and teachers was held in the University of Sydney School of Physics by ASELL Schools and CAASTRO in the Classroom.

The objective of this workshop was to assist students and teachers to incorporate science inquiry into their investigations; develop investigations that address the new Australian Curriculum; and engage with world class astrophysicists.

The workshop, organised by Associate Professor Manjula Sharma, Tom Gordon and Jennifer Lynch, is a nationwide, multidisciplinary and cross institutional collaboration throughout the nodes of both the ASELL Schools and CAASTRO projects.

The joint ASELL/CAASTRO workshop, projects funded through the federal governments initiatives to improve STEM education, synchronised in real time ran in Sydney, Armidale, Perth, Melbourne and Canberra, potentially being the first of this type of collaboration.

The workshops were run in parallel connected through a Video Conference hosted by The University of Sydney and broadcast into Curtin University, Melbourne University, The Australian National university, and the University of New England.

The workshop introduced students to exemplar investigations developed for teachers by ASELL Schools at The University of Sydney as well as Astronomy activities developed by CAASTRO for their outreach program CAASTRO in the Classroom.

Students also had the chance to talk with CAASTRO researchers across the country and ask them questions about what they do, giving school students and teachers an opportunity to take advantage of the knowledge of these experts from around the country.

In my 25 years of working with Science education, this is the first instance of substantive and successful collaboration between two major national projects - Associate Professor Manjula Sharma

What is ASELL schools?

ASELL Schools is a three-year national project run across the country and headquartered at Sydney University designed to assist teachers to move science investigations towards an inquiry-based approach in years 7-10.

The objective of ASELL is to facilitate teachers and academics to work together to improve science investigations and experiences for high school students.

ASELL develops partnerships and professional networks between schools and university staff (Science, Engineering, Teacher Education) by carrying out accredited Professional Development Workshops for teachers in schools.

What is CAASTRO in the Classroom?

By answering fundamental questions about the nature of the Universe, by developing innovative ways of processing enormous data-sets, and by providing a diverse set of opportunities for students and young researchers.

CAASTRO is uniting the world's top astronomers in a focused collaborative environment and is changing the way we understand the Cosmos. CAASTRO in the Classroom is an outreach program designed to engage Australian school students and teachers with research scientists.

Contact: Tom Gordon

Phone: 02 9351 3201

Email: 07042948085c353c3c182f230e122250094f0c5600650034