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Science is a process of exploration – of continually challenging our assumptions and seeing how well they stand up to scrutiny.

So a blog and a discussion are something we should certainly include on the site. And we're starting today! We're going to look for key areas of science where fresh thinking is particularly needed.

We've got full-scale discussion facilities through a link with the new European science teaching web portal STELLA. The Stella portal's been set up to enable ideas in science education to be shared, and it includes a discussion forum section. Through this you can give your views on the topics we open up here or start up some new ones of your own.

We've started off with two issues. One is the question of fashion in science. The big breakthroughs are often unexpected – so how do we find the unfashionable places to look?

And we also ask: with astronomy and space of such interest to young people, can the school curriculum be developed to build around them in a bigger way? 

Let us know what you think tell Stella!


Inspired by the Stars?

by Alex MacQueen - 12:18 on 01 March 2009

In the search for subjects that will inspire young people, astronomy and space come through again and again at the top. They are interested in the question of what happened before the big bang, or of whether life exists on other planets, or what happens when a supernova explodes.

And they are fascinated by the incredible beauty of pictures from the Hubble telescope.

So here we have a subject that can drive forward an interest in science, whether as a career or for a lifetime interest.

But how do we go about it? What is the best way to start astronomy, particularly in a school in a light-polluted city, or a small primary school without the resources to buy a travelling planetarium?

Do we start with a guide to the night sky, or a study of the exploration of the planets of the solar system, or the story of Galileo and Kepler - or what?

And where do we get the best materials? Where are the most accessible and pupil-friendly websites? Where can we find activities that pupils can carry out on their own?

Astronomy and space are so fascinating and wide-ranging that I could see how a great deal of the orthodox science syllabus could be shaped around them - so these questions about teaching resources really matter. Can anyone - teachers, astronomers, astronomy societies - help?

We'd like to get your comments on this and other blogs that we post up. Thanks to Stella we can now host a full-scale discussion on this and other topics. Click here to join in.

If instead of joining the full discussion, you'd prefer to leave a comment with us, then the form below is available and we can post it up for you on the forum.

STELLA is the European science teaching portal, with which we now have a link. So join the discussion tell Stella!

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