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CTAO for Educators
Teaching materials and programs
This page provides educational materials and tools to explore the highest-energy Universe in the classroom or at home. All tools are adapted for different educational levels, specified in each case as: elementary, high school, university or “all ages.” We’ll continue to expand, so check back regularly!
If you have a question or request regarding these programs and materials, contact the CTAO Outreach, Education and Communication Officer, Alba Fernández-Barral.
The CTAO’s “Physicists On-Call” program brings very high-energy astronomy to you! There is no better way to delve into the intriguing extreme Universe, the CTAO’s innovative technology and its coming scientific achievements than hearing from an expert in the field. The Cherenkov Telescope Array Observatory (CTAO) and Cherenkov Telescope Array Consortium (CTAC) members are located in dozens of countries around the world. If you are a member of an education institution (primary, secondary, collegiate or post-graduate levels) or of an astronomical association, you can now request a talk in one of the many languages spoken within our project. Presentations are initially carried out online, but in-person talks could be possible according to the speakers’ availability. Based on the information provided through the request form, the topic will be adapted to the level agreed upon between the speaker and the educator.
Exploring CTAO Science with Ted & Friends
Join Ted the Telescope and his friends Big Bear and Little Bear as they explore the exciting objects in space that Ted and his telescope friends will look at as they search the night sky for gamma rays. Each of the seven episodes is about 3-4.5 minutes in length and covers a different topic. Watch the full series on our YouTube channel in English, Spanish or Portuguese . The series was created by Alice Hopkinson, an undergraduate student at Durham University, and is recommended for children ages 5-11, but “big kids” should find it enjoyable, too! Test what you learn from each episode with the educational material and games you will find below.
These handbooks with activities can be performed with students at different ages to initiate or delve into the fascinating Universe of gamma-ray astronomy. All initiatives are collaborative and based on the diversity that characterizes the CTAO, in order to promote equal participation and education without barriers of any type.
And for some fun, we have included some games, too!
This handbook proposes questions and exercises of different levels related to the animated series “Exploring CTAO Science with Ted and Friends.” Recommended for ages 5-11, the goal is to introduce the students to astronomy – particularly to high-energy astrophysics that the future gamma-ray observatory, the CTAO, will study – and to develop their scientific thinking and logic, as well as to improve attention and retention of information. The questions are divided according to each episode and the handbook, designed for the educators, contains all the answers with extra annotations.
Worksheets and Games
Introduce new astrophysical concepts with the help of this series of worksheets. Each worksheet includes a short reading section that is supported and tested by a separate page of activities and questions. Any of the pages can be printed independently according to the activity carried out.
And for a fun break, use the crossword to entertain and reinforce what has been learned. If they get stuck, don’t forget to use the Dictionary of the Extreme Universe to help guide them to the answers they need.
Dictionary of the Extreme Universe
You are reading the news, an article, CTAO’s website, and suddenly… a word you don’t know. Don’t worry! With CTAO’s “Dictionary of the Extreme Universe,” (available in English and Spanish), you will find a brief description of typical words used in (very) high-energy astrophysics and astronomy. The dictionary is the perfect tool to help support different educational activities, including the activities and games provided via this page, and will give your students the opportunity to explore and understand the significance of specific scientific terminology related to astrophysics.
Do you know the meaning of…?
CTAO Telescopes in Simple Words
CTAO technology and its terminology can be complicated! James Wilson, a final-year undergraduate student at Durham University created these printouts and poster to help explain the CTAO telescopes in the simplest terms. The images were inspired by ‘The Thing Explainer’ by Randall Munroe.
CTAO Electromagnetic Spectrum
This infographic illustrates where CTAO’s energy range falls on the electromagnetic spectrum and is a useful tool to help explain the different wavelengths of light not visible to the human eye.
>> Download: PDF / 2 MB
Emission to Discovery
This poster illustrates the path gamma rays travel from their emission by high-energy sources in the Universe to the Earth’s atmosphere, transformation into Cherenkov light and detection by CTAO.
>> Download: PDF / 2 MB
Large-Sized Telescope Paper Model
What do you need to build your own Large-Sized Telescope (LST)? Three simple materials: LST printout, glue and scissors! Use the LST printout available here to download or draw your own design and follow this explanatory video to build the CTAO’s largest telescope at home or in the classroom.
>> Download Printout:
PDF / Full Model (360 KB)
Created by Insituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) and Liceo Mons. B. Mangino di Pagani (Italy).
Do you want to learn more about astrophysics or find more tools to help your students? Worldwide, institutes and experts create and share on-line material about physics in order to make the learning process more fun and accessible to everybody. Below, you can find some links to English, Spanish and Italian websites with different content. Enjoy!
- European Southern Observatory’s (ESO’s) Educational Material
- VERITAS’ Muon Hunters 2.0
- Hubble’s Black Hole Explorer: Gravity’s Relentless Pull
- Physics Girl – YouTube channel
- Kurzgesagt / In a Nutshell – YouTube channel. Related to astrophysics:
- Material Educativo CosmoEduca del Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (IAC)
- Súper Astros de la Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica (CONICYT, Chile) – Serie de YouTube para Niñ@s
- Cazadores de Rayos Gamma – Juego interactivo para aprender sobre el análisis de datos de rayos gamma con MAGIC (available in English)
- Instituto de Física Teórica (IFT, Madrid) – Canal de YouTube
- Astrochat: Mujeres Espaciales – App y juego online para aprender sobre científicas relacionadas con el espacio
- Científicas: Pasado, Presente y Futuro – Teatro científico sobre mujeres en la ciencia del pasado, presente y futuro
- The Quantum Fracture – Canal de YouTube
- Date un Voltio – Canal de YouTube
- Edu INAF – Il magazine di didattica e divulgazione dell’Istituto Nazionale di Astrofisica (INAF)
- OCRA -Attività di “public engagement” nell’ambito dei raggi cosmici dell’Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN)
- INDIRE – Istituto Nazionale Documentazione Innovazione Ricerca Educativa
- astroEDU – Attività didattiche di astronomia dell’International Astronomical Union (IAU)
- Polvere di Stelle – Archivi e beni culturali dell’astronomia italiana (INAF)