Astronomy Professional Development

Another quick post to let you know about an exciting Astronomy Teacher Professional Development program happening on October 10, 2014 at ScienceworksMuseum Victoria.

The day has been organised by iTelescope with Scienceworks and will have the amazing Dr Pamela Gay running two workshops on how you can work even more Astronomy into your curriculum. Pamela, or @starstryder, is a renowned Astronomer and science communicator. She has her blog and is on the podcast, ‘Astronomy cast‘ with Fraser Cain of Universe Today. I love listening the podcast on my way home after a late night observing. She is also the Project Director of CosmoQuest, an education and citizen science program. The proceeds of the PD will go back into CosmoQuest.

Also on the day, you will get the opportunity to hear from the awesome University of Melbourne astrophysicist and TiS volunteer, Dr Katie Mack (@astrokatie), as we do some solar viewing, find out about the Scienceworks programs and to do some real Astronomy with your classes.

Details can be found at iTelescope, a flier can be passed around and register here.

Hope you can make it!


Thomastown, Milo and raisin toast

Looking at planetarium apps with Principal Leonie White.

Looking at planetarium apps with Principal Leonie White.

Thomastown Secondary College have an all-in attitude at the school. Certainly the TiS program is been attended by the Principal and Assistant Principal on a regular basis. The lab technician, groundsman and librarian always come out for a look through the telescope and we already have a serious group of students keen to learn how to use the telescope and look at the night sky in general. Of course, the science teachers are always on board, lead by Leonie, who is the STEM coordinator. STEM stands for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics and part of Leonie’s role is to seek out STEM enrichment activities for students to do – fantastic!

Space has taken over the library too! Go space!

Space has taken over the library too! Go space!

So a typical night at Thomastown SC includes teachers and students coming from all directions to the central courtyard to get some astronomy done with enthusiasm and purpose! We have had some spectacular observing nights, certainly Saturn and the Moon were big hits,

Definitely having lots of fun.

Definitely having lots of fun.

Orion earlier in the year and Omega Centauri now. When the weather hasn’t been so favourable, we headed inside to explore some ideas on astronomy with a rather competitive quiz – (there were prizes involved).

Prizes, prizes, prizes!

Prizes, prizes, prizes!







Or the students have been learning how to use the telescope and have been doing a sensational job!

Natasha and George practicing their alignment of the telescope.

Natasha and George practicing their alignment of the telescope.



The end of the observing night has developed into a bit of a ritual. We all head inside to the staff tearoom (generally off-limits to students) and are treated to a Milo and raisin toast supper to warm us up before we head home.

Supper time at Thomastown SC - get in quick!

Supper time at Thomastown SC – get in quick!

For Sale – Telescope

Looking for a brand-new (second-hand, never been used) telescope and can get to Macedon Ranges? Let us know!


From Dale Barry at Gisborne SC:

Brand new telescope for sale (it has been assembled but never used).

 It is very similar to my own telescope and is valued at $1,000+ but for sale for $450.

 Newtonian reflector telescope, 8” D200mm F1000mm, with motor drive and spotter scope (not pictured). Macedon Ranges.


8" Reflector Telescope for Sale

8″ Reflector Telescope for Sale

Taylors Lakes Sun Projects 2014

Every year at Taylors Lakes Secondary College, the Year 7’s study Astronomy. A part of that topic we get the telescope out during the day and do some solar viewing and take some photos. Not only do the Year 7’s view the Sun though, there is a string of Science classes that pass through the courtyard and then word gets out and the History and English teachers also bring their classes. Definitely a whole school event!

In addition to the observing, the Year 7’s were also asked to put together a presentation on the Sun. The assignment was written by teacher Rob Davie and while there are 275(!) Year 7 students at the school, we thought post just select few of the great presentations the students have been working on.

Year 7 Observing the Sun Task 

And the Assignments;

Stefan 7K


Shakira and Joyce 7F


Natalie and Holly 7F

Joanne and Satomi 7K

Helena M 7H

Dana and Lynda 7F

Ghnigmo 7D

Elisha 7H

Daniel and Peter 7I

Damian and Jack 7K

Cody, Taylor and Jak 7F

Catherine and Puti 7F

Brooklyn 7I


Alannah and Taylor-7A

Alanduc 7D

Thank you to all the students who submitted their projects to be placed on the website.

The sun is a great place to start exploring our Universe. Head to the resources page to see the other activities, websites and projects that can be done focussing on the Sun.