Educational Programmes

The comet C/2012 S1 (ISON) imaged at ESO's La Silla Observatory

ESO Open House Day. Credit: ESO

Are you a teacher wanting to create a special astronomical, mathematical, or physical experience for your class? The ESO Supernova can help you with unforgettable learning experiences. We provide you with information, handouts and material, as well as with 50 concepts for astronomy to aid your teaching, and we offer field trips, overnight visits, and workshops at the ESO Supernova, all following the curriculum for mathematics and physics in Bavaria, Germany. Additional miscellaneous hands-on activities for children are offered at weekends and during vacations.

The ESO Supernova shows school classes how exciting the exploration of the Universe is, and how professional astronomers find out about the origin, structure and evolution of astronomical objects. Professional educators inspire and awaken the interest of young people in science and technology through astronomy by engaging them in activities and experiences that will leave a long-lasting impression on them. This experience includes interactive planetarium shows, interactive tours and workshops — all adapted to the age of the visiting school classes, ranging from kindergarten to grade 13. In addition, the exhibition contains educational elements focused specifically on curriculum-based content explaining basic astronomical concepts. This experience will help to increase astronomical and scientific literacy among young people on subjects relating to the origin of life in the Universe, the uniqueness and preservation of our planet as well as on astronomical phenomena that affect daily life.

All our interactive activities — whether in the planetarium, the exhibition or the workshops — allow our young visitors to participate in a very active way in the process of knowledge acquisition. For the younger audience, we make sure that, during the exhibition and workshops, for at least one hour, they feel as if they are young astronomers trying to find answers to exciting and clearly defined questions.

During the workshops, our educators show teachers how exciting school subjects can be when they are taught in an astronomical context. Daily phenomena (the seasons, day and night, phases of the Moon, etc) and amazing objects like black holes and supernovae, can not only be linked to the classroom material, but also be used as a context to connect school subjects like maths, physics, biology, chemistry, social studies in an interdisciplinary way.

An overarching didactic strategy links the contents presented at the exhibition, planetarium shows and the workshops in such a way that school visitors can order the information presented into exciting astronomical contexts.

In addition to these regular events, the ESO Supernova organises public talks given by astronomers from ESO and nearby research institutes in and around Munich. These are also of great interest for students over a wide range of age groups, and are presented in such a way that students learn about research in a very authentic way.

For teachers, the ESO Supernova offers special teacher training sessions and it coordinates a network of teachers in Bavaria, Germany and Europe.

Groups from schools must have advance reservations for workshops, guided tours and planetarium shows. All our educational offers are free. Please reserve here.