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Educator Workshops offered by HartRAO


The aim of the workshops

To help prepare educators for the astronomical content of the natural science learning area in Outcomes Based Education. The modules in the workbooks that are provided with the workshops are strongly activity based. The activities are demonstrated during the workshops. The workshops are aimed at educators of grades 4 to 8.

Typical Topics covered

Introduction to astronomy:
How did the Universe begin - where did the solar system come from - what is around us in space

The Sun and Shadows:
Observing the Sun - which way is north - the Sun makes shadows - measuring the angle of the Sun in the sky - calculating the diameter of the Sun

Day, night and the Seasons:
What causes day and night - what causes the seasons - observing sunrise and sunset - seasonal changes to the environment - using an orrery to demonstrate seasons - using a ball and the Sun to explain day, night and the seasons

The Moon:
Observing the Moon - the colours of the Moon - features of the Moon - phases of the Moon - calculating Easter and Ramadan - the Tswana 'Man in the Moon' - the first Moon landing

Our Solar System:
the Sun is a star - the adventures of Halley's comet - the planets - making scale models of the solar system

Asteroids and Meteorites:
Moon's surface compared to Earth's surface - what makes craters - TV interview - visiting a crater

Satellites and Space Travel:
What are satellites - what are satellites used for - satellites and South Africa - history of space travel - how do rockets work - make a balloon rocket - what do astronauts wear in space - design a space probe

Star patterns in the sky:
make flashcards of star patterns - recognising star patterns - find your way using the stars - make a starfinder - use a starfinder

Books - websites - places to visit

Times and Duration of Workshops

Workshops can be held at times suitable to the educators. This may be on a weekday afternoon after school, for example. Duration is typically three hours. To cover the content properly it may need to be split over two days.

Venues for workshops

The workshop can be presented at venues such as a school, college, teachers' centre or science centre accessible to the educators to your area.


The workbooks cost about R50 each. There may be an additional cost depending on the distance from HartRAO or Johannesburg and whether any subsidy has been obtained. Enquire for details.


Further workshops are scheduled - contact us for information.

Would you like a workshop to be held in your area? Contact us!

Phone: (012) 301-3100
Fax: (012) 301-3300
E-mail: Science Awareness team (visit@hartrao.ac.za)

Picture Gallery

day and night #1 day and night #2
What causes day and night?
Using a ball and torch
What causes the seasons?
Using an inflatable Earth globe and torch

Why does the moon seem to change shape every day?
Using a table tennis ball on a sticks as the Moon
while Kim holds a lamp as the Sun