For Secondary Schools

Our science and engineering complement many areas of the secondary school curriculum, providing inspiring and engaging real-life examples of STEM skills and careers. We are currently developing our programmes for secondary schools and are keen to hear from schools that would like to visit and/or trial new activities.

Secondary schools can arrange to visit the Observatory or arrange a visit to your school. We also support teachers by providing access to loan schemes, educational resources and professional development opportunities.

The Royal Observatory

Visit the Observatory

Secondary school classes can arrange a visit to the Observatory site which best suits their needs and interests.  We can offer workshops suited to secondary school pupils on exoplanets, galaxies and stars, arrange for pupils to meet one of our researchers or engineers and view our collection of historic manuscripts including first editions of works by Kepler, Galileo and Newton.

Please use the booking link below to express your interest and a member of our team will be in touch to discuss in more detail what we can offer.

If you are part of a home education group, please get in touch with us directly on 0131 6688 404 to discuss your needs.

Booking information

Times & prices:

Schools can visit the Observatory on Mondays and Wednesdays and can choose between a half-day session or a full-day session with use of our lunch space.

Times & Prices
Session Type Times Price
Half-day visit 10:00-12:00 or 13:00-15:00 £3 per pupil (+VAT)
Full-day visit 10:00-15:00 £6 per pupil (+VAT)

 

Requirements:
  • We require a ratio of at least 1 accompanying adult for every 8 children. All accompanying adults are free of charge.
  • The minimum group size is 10, and we can accommodate up to 40 people in total. i.e. 35 children and 5 accompanying adults.
  • Due to the lack of coach parking and insufficient space for turning, coaches are strongly discouraged from coming up the hill. We recommend you discuss this with the coach driver prior to starting the journey to avoid problems on the day. If you have access requirements please get in touch so we can discuss the best way to get to the site.
Inflatable Planetarium

Arrange a visit to your school

If you can’t come to us, we can visit your school with our outreach programme if you are within a two hours drive of Edinburgh. (For more distant schools, please phone us to discuss options.) Our mobile planetarium programmes can be tailored to any level, and are offered as part of a half-day (2 hour) or full-day (4 hour) visit.

Activities

Outreach sessions last between 30-45 minutes, and can be arranged to best suit your school’s needs and schedule.

Planetarium sessions

Please note the planetarium requires a room at least 7m in diameter and 3.2 m high; it cannot be used outside. A school hall or gym is usually ideal.

The maximum group size for the planetarium is 25 for secondary pupils.

We require a minimum of 1 hour to set up and 30 minutes to take down the planetarium and this time must be taken into account when scheduling.

Please see our Planetarium Guide [Word/19 KB] for full details.

If you would like to arrange a planetarium visit for secondary pupils, please contact us to discuss your requirements

Booking information

Times & prices:

Schools outreach visits are available on Tuesdays and Thursdays. We offer half-day (two hour) or full-day (four hour) visits.

Times & Prices
Session Type Times Price
Half-day outreach By arrangement £250
Full-day outreach By arrangement £350

 

Requirements:

  • At least one teacher / responsible adult must accompany children at all times
Book here:
Meteorite Handling

Loans programmes

Bring the excitement of space into your classroom through our loans programmes. Each loan box comes with supporting resources to help you run inspiring, curriculum-linked activities, and the loan schemes are entirely FREE to schools.

Meteorite loans

Your class can have the chance to hold a real rock from space! The Down 2 Earth meteorite loan scheme allows you to borrow one of three boxes:

  • Meteorite box: contains a range of meteorites and meteorite-related items to encourage discussion about space environment and how objects come to Earth.
  • Moon box: contains meteorites, rocks similar to those you would find on the Moon, and replica Moon dust.
  • Mars box: contains meteorites, a Mars sample, and simulated Martian surface dust.

Resources to support work around meteorites are included in the boxes. More can be found at the Down2Earth website, which includes a wealth of information as well as an interactive impact calculator. You can also learn more about meteorites in this fantastic video from the Royal Observatory Greenwich:

 

 

To book a meteorite loan, please call 0131 668 8404 or e-mail vis@roe.ac.uk

Lunar Rocks

You can borrow samples of Moon rock and meteorites through the Science and Technology Facilities Council Loan Scheme. You typically need to give at least four months’ notice to book the lunar samples, due to scheduling and security requirements.

For more information and to borrow lunar samples please visit Borrow the Moon.

Educational resources

Exoplanets

Using real data from stars which have been found to have planets orbiting them, students make models of these other 'solar systems'. Looking at their star and its planets, students can determine whether any of the planets could support life, and investigate how the system differs from our own Solar System. Ideally the class is split into 4 groups, each group having a different planet system to study.

For an introduction to running the activities with your class, have a look at this video:

 

Download: [MP4/13.6 MB] [WMV/26.7 MB]

For further assistance and background information on exoplanets, you can download a copy of the teacher's notes here: Teacher's Notes [PDF/2.43 MB]

When running the activity independently, you may wish to use the following video clip to introduce the topic of exoplanets to your class:

Introduction to Exoplanets

 

Download: [MP4/39.7 MB] [WMV/32.7 MB]

 

Pupil's Activity sheets:

Exoplanet Fact Sheet [PDF/646 KB]

Exoplanet Task Sheet [PDF/626 KB]

 

Planet System Information Sheets:

Our Solar System [PDF/269 KB]

55 Cancri [PDF/321 KB]

Gliese 581 [PDF/264 KB]

HR8799 [PDF/459 KB]

Upsilon Andromedae [PDF/349 KB]

Please note, all these resources are intended to be printed full colour. If you do not have access to a colour printer, please contact us and we will post out a full colour set.

 

Galaxies

Looking at the Virgo cluster of galaxies, students will investigate what a galaxy is, what different types there are and how these galaxies are distributed within the cluster. By building a model of the cluster, students can investigate patterns relating to where the different types of galaxies are found, and form conclusions about how the cluster might have changed over time.

For an introduction to running the activities with your class, have a look at this video clip:

 

Download: [MP4/10.6 MB] [WMV/22.6 MB]

For further assistance and background information on galaxies, you can download a copy of the teacher's notes here: Teacher's Notes [PDF/822 KB]

When running the activity independently, you may wish to show your class the video clip below to introduce the topic of galaxies to them.

Introduction to Galaxies

 

Download: [MP4/45.1 MB] [WMV/34.7 MB]

 

Pupil's Activity sheets:

Galaxies Fact Sheet [PDF/231 KB]

Galaxies Task Sheet [PDF/131 KB]

Galaxy Flags [PSD/129 KB]

 

Galaxy Images:

Group 1 [PDF/2938 KB]

Group 2 [PDF/2878 KB]

Group 3 [PDF/3079 KB]

Group 4 [PDF/2910 KB]

Please note, all these resources are intended to be printed full colour. If you do not have access to a colour printer, please contact us and we will post out a full colour set.

CPD Session with Teachers

Professional development

The Royal Observatory Edinburgh provides bespoke professional development courses for secondary teachers and teachers in training through arrangement.

Please contact us at 0131 668 8404 or vis@roe.ac.uk to discuss your requirements.