Universe in the Classroom: using robotic telescopes in primary schools
Universe in the Classroom is a science engagement programme that provides under-served welsh primary schools with improved teaching methods and innovative tools, including access to robotic telescopes, to modernise and enhance the way science is taught to young children aged 4-11 years. As a result, the programme has engaged with 133 primary schools from 21 of the 22 Welsh counties, 47% of whom receive below average budget per student per year. In addition to the provision of high-quality resources, Universe in the Classroom offers teacher training workshops to improve teachers’ scientific knowledge and confidence, with 75% stating improved confidence using science resources post-training event. The programme has also engaged with of 22,083 schoolchildren, successfully improving their understanding of the Universe and challenging perceptions of scientists, with an additional 10% of girls describing scientists as female after a workshop hosted by our diverse and enthusiastic team of undergraduate role models. Furthermore, the number of complex scientific concepts discussed by students tripled post-workshop. Although we identified several potential deterrents affecting the uptake of robotic telescopes in primary school classrooms, these were addressed by the programme and 25% teachers claim to have used the telescopes in their schools, with an additional 75% stating their school would find a second LCO account useful.