02 November 2017 Community

How to teach and learn about space

Do you have the creative spark when it comes to teaching?

It hardly needs saying that space is a huge topic - but how does that affect the way we learn about it and, perhaps more importantly, the way we teach about it? It's possible to learn incredible amounts from all kinds of sources, and each contribute to both our knowledge about the universe and our aims when exploring it. Anyone who teaches astrophysics will know that, from books to documentaries to school-based learning and using our imaginations, there is no one place to get all the right information from, partially because we know so little about what goes on outside of our world. Read on to find out how people are teaching and learning about space.

Books
When we reach a subject that we don't know everything about, it makes our imaginations run wild. Hundreds of books have been written about space, some non-fiction and dealing only in hard facts, so fiction based on space missions that really happened, and some more speculative fiction. The reason it's so important to include speculative fiction here is that it is part of what drives us. For example, books like the Star Wars series fuelled our curiosity to see what's really out there and gave us ideas about how to design spacecrafts. Even here on earth, Star Wars is inspiring robot design. Because of this, it would be impossible not to include books when considering how we teach and learn about space, particularly since fiction can have just as big an effect as non-fiction.

Imagination
You might expect science to be so dedicated to facts and figures that imagination doesn't come into it, but you couldn't be more wrong. One key example of both teaching and learning about science and space that shows us how we can use our imaginations for the better is the way Albert Einstein imagined himself as a photon flying through space. Based on what he expected the photon would see if it had eyes and feel if it had the sense of touch allowed him to model photons in a way no other scientists had. The second step, of course, was then to test out what his imagination told him on real life photons.

Documentaries
There's no way to ignore the many documentaries there are which make the science aspects more manageable and bring the exciting discoveries closer to home. Like books, documentaries have fuelled our imaginations and taught us about the possibilities in an entertaining format, and they are likely to be partially responsible for many of the discoveries we've made today. Just think how widely viewed the moon landing footage is. If you want to learn about space, there might be no better way than to make your own documentary from all of the footage you can find on the net. You could even use a free intro maker to give your vid that professional touch, and you may end up inspiring the next great space mission yourself. Teach others through the power of video.

Education
Although you can learn a great deal outside of school, learning about the universe by the book is a must if you want to get to space yourself. Physics only reaches a basic level at school, which you might even find dull, but by the time you get to university, you'll have the chance to share everything you've learnt from the books you've read, the documentaries you've seen and the out-there thoughts you've been having. If you start learning about space from all different angles, there's no telling how far you could go.

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