Astronomy Student Research in the International Baccalaureate
Our Solar Siblings has a rich history of promoting inquiry based learning using robotic telescopes across a broad range of students around Australia. The author has delivered the Our Solar Siblings (OSS) program to a range of students from Year 7-10 (12-16 years old) in Gifted and Talented Science classes. As part of the delivery, students have been encouraged to pursue individual astronomy research to enhance their understanding and skills of Physics concepts. Over the past 3 years, the Our Solar Siblings curriculum has also been delivered to senior physics students at St. Paul’s Grammar School in New South Wales, Australia as part of their International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma Programme (DP) Physics course (16-19 years old). The IB is delivered around the world as an alternative to traditional courses studied by students in their countries and aims to develop inquiring, knowledgeable and caring young people. Astrophysics is an Option in the IB DP Physics, so OSS has been used as a platform to enthuse and encourage student participation. The match between student research and the IB curriculum is discussed in detail. Students have extended their involvement by pursuing their own areas of astronomy research with the assistance of an OSS mentor as their academic supervisor. The areas of research, benefits and challenges are discussed.