Astronomy from the Ground Up!


Workshop for Science Teachers, CSIRO Parkes Observatory, 3 - 5 May 2024

Registrations are now open for our 2024 teacher workshop.

Science Teachers, this is your opportunity to develop your knowledge of how to teach astronomy in an exciting and engaging manner. Over three days in the shadow an icon of Australian science, the CSIRO Parkes radio telescope, Murriyang you will have the chance to enhance your confidence and skills in the astronomical concepts required to teach junior high school or primary science. No background or training in astronomy is required for participation in this workshop.


The workshop sessions will cover a range of topics on astronomical objects and techniques. We focus on the role of Australian astronomers and facilities to provide you with relevant examples to use with your students. You'll be introduced to the pedagogy for effective teaching of astronomical concepts and a wealth of activities for engaging your students. Examples of current research and background information on key aspects of astronomy will enhance your confidence in teaching the subject effectively. We'll also outline some of the recent initiatives by CSIRO in Space.

The Parkes radio telescope, Murriyang


Workshop sessions will be varied and provide you with opportunities to:

  • trial "hands-on" activities you can take back to the classroom
  • incorporate the latest research in astronomy education in your teaching
  • meet and listen to Australian astronomers and talk with them about their work and the cosmos
  • tour the Parkes radio telescope, Murriyang and learn how it works
  • learn how to run a viewing night for your students and find your way around the night sky using the unaided eye and small optical telescopes (weather permitting)
  • use powerful visualisation and other free software tools and learn how to incorporate them in your classes
  • take home a range of useful and practical resources and ideas that you can use with your students.


Participants from the 2017 workshop in front of the Dish.
Some of the teachers from the 2013 workshop on the Dish.

The workshop will be presented by experienced astronomers and astronomy educators. Most importantly, as it is a residential workshop away from the daily stresses of school you will have ample opportunity to network with colleagues and talk with astronomers and engineers whilst enjoying stimulating activities and fine food!

Venue and Dates

The workshop will be held at the CSIRO Parkes Observatory, approximately 26 km from Parkes in central NSW. Workshops start on Friday morning 3 May 2024 and finishes around 1.00 pm on the Sunday 5 May. Workshop lectures and activities will be held at the Visitors Centre and surrounding grounds.


Registration fee is $600 incl GST.  This includes workshop activities, all meals from morning tea on the Friday to lunch on the Sunday (other than breakfasts) and a resource pack of materials from the workshop. Sessions include some night activities so dinners are included.

Note that the workshop fee does not include accommodation. Payment details will be provided on receipt of a booking request and can be by cheque, direct bank deposit (preferred), MasterCard or Visa.

Cancellation after payment one week or more before the workshop incurs a $50 fee. Refunds for cancellation closer to the workshop is at the discretion of the workshop organiser and not guaranteed although another teacher from the same school can substitute at no penalty.

Registrations close Friday 13 April 2024 but places are limited so early registration is encouraged.


Please register here:

Viewing Night

Participants at the 2017 workshop viewing the stars by the Dish.

Comments from Participants

  • "10/10 - Thoroughly well prepared & presented. I enjoyed it all!"
  • "Best I've been to, well-paced, fun, useful and well fed."
  • "I really appreciated the calibre of the speakers, the interaction with other teachers and all the practical activities."
  • "My confidence in teaching astronomy in the classroom has been reinforced, both in junior and senior science. To be able to talk to students about current research is definitely a benefit."
  • "Excellent - it would rate 11 on a scale of 1 to 10! Well done."
Participants from the 2005 workshop enjoying a fine lunch by The Dish.
Workshop participants enjoying a fine lunch by the Dish.

Accommodation & Travel

Parkes provides a range of accommodation options to suit a range of budgets. More details can be found through the Parkes visitor guide. Participants must make their own accommodation arrangements and bookings. We are unable to provide onsite accommodation for workshop participants.

Parkes is about a five hour drive from Sydney. Rex Airlines has regular flights between Sydney and Parkes. Bus and train schedules can be found on the Transport NSW Trainlink website.


The workshop targets the needs of teachers of Stage 4 and 5 Science but is also very suitable for those teaching Primary and HSC-level sciences too. No expertise is required. All interested teachers are encouraged to apply. Places, however, are limited so you should register early.


Completing the Astronomy from the Ground Up! workshop will contribute about 18 hours (tbc) of self-selected Professional Learning addressing the following standard descriptors from the Australian Professional Standards for Teachers towards maintaining Proficient Accreditation in NSW. 

Relevant Australian Professional Standards for Teachers

Apply knowledge of the content and teaching strategies of the teaching area to develop engaging teaching activities.

Proficient National

Use effective teaching strategies to integrate ICT into learning and teaching programs to make selected content relevant and meaningful.

Proficient National

Participate in learning to update knowledge and practice, targeted to professional needs and school and/or system priorities.

Proficient National

Contribute to collegial discussions and apply constructive feedback from colleagues to improve professional knowledge and practice.

Proficient National



Should you wish to know more about the workshop please contact:

Robert Hollow
Education Manager
CSIRO, Space and Astronomy
phone 02 9372 4247