Double sun in space

Scientific Sketching in Astronomy

Monday to Thursday during Terms 1 and 2 2023
Weeks 2 – 9

Years 7 ,8, 9 & 10

Science. This program is aligned with the Science as a Human Endeavour content descriptor. 

Facilitated by museum staff

Allow 1 hour per session. A short reset period between programs will be rostered.

The Workshops Rail Museum, Ipswich


$6 per student
Minimum 10 students

Book in for our facilitated school program Scientific Sketching in Astronomy where students explore the history of solar observing.

Program overview

The Sun has fascinated humans from the moment we could first lookup. In this program, students explore the history of solar observing, including what observations have been made and how that information has been recorded. They will critically examine historical and contemporary sketches of the Sun, comparing sketching techniques and evaluating data that can be extrapolated. Students will also be asked to make their own sketches and compare their techniques to other contemporary renderings to develop their understanding of how to use this methodology.

They will also explore how historical sketches still have a place in modern science, how these sketches are playing a part in developing our knowledge of the Sun and how such data can be used to improve predictions of future space weather.

Learning outcomes

  • develop an understanding that human scientific endeavours can be driven by needs determined by society and technology
  • understand that scientific endeavours can involve collaboration that may extend beyond scientific disciplines to include other fields
  • students will understand how to interpret and evaluate historical scientific data in the form of sketches and identify both key changes in the daily change of the Sun and inconsistencies in the data
  • the ability to use key observations to evaluate data collection methodologies for their strengths and weaknesses
  • develop an understand of how data can be communicated visually, through the medium of scientific sketching and situations when this method is appropriate.

Students will:

  • engage in guided discussion about key historical figures and their methods of recording solar observation
  • compare historical and contemporary sketches and other images of the Sun to assess their usefulness as a source of scientific data
  • become familiar with the significance of sketching as a means of conveying scientific data visually before the invention of photography
  • use a range of sources to identify useful sketching techniques and key features to be recorded
  • recognise the usefulness of historical data in building long term datasets, which can allow scientists to explore long term cycles in the Sun’s behaviour. 

School visit information

See our Visit as a school page for information on visiting the museum and booking a group into a program. Groups may be allocated time for self-guided Museum exploration during school program rotation.

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Learning Resources 

Explore additional learning resources related to this program on our Learning Resources platform.

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