“Astrobiology has re-awakened me to science.”: Teacher attendee, Astrobiology Academy


Welcome to the Astrobiology Academy Homepage

The Astrobiology Academy is an exciting initiative to introduce teachers and trainee teachers to astrobiology
and develop curriculum-based lesson plans in the interdisciplinary science of astrobiology, using astrobiology to teach fundamental curriculum science. It has been running since 2013.

The Academy runs three main programmes:

1) It offers an annual short duration (two and a half days) Continuing Professional Development course (CPD) in Astrobiology, which in 2017 will run from July 10-12th (Monday morning to Wednesday lunch). You can register here.

2) It offers one day CPD events in collaboration with the National Space Centre in Leicester.

3) It runs a programme called ‘Life Beyond’ which is focused on taking astrobiology into the prison environment and enriching the lives of those serving terms in prisons.

The initiative was started in 2013 and has been running annually since then.

Astrobiology asks questions such as:

  • How did life originate?
  • How did the Earth become a habitable planet?
  • Is there life elsewhere?
  • What is the future of life on Earth?
  • How do we explore and settle other planets?

They are some of the most fascinating questions in science. Within them are many areas of science from biology to physics and chemistry that can used to teach fundamental ideas and concepts in science in schools.

CPD events

The Academy offers a free CPD (Continuing Professional Development) course of lectures and workshops for teachers, teacher trainees or graduate teacher trainees delivered by professional scientists and educators working in the field of Astrobiology. It is run by the UK Centre for Astrobiology. It should fulfill any annual CPD requirement for teachers. However, it is also open to any professional interesting in contributing to education, writing lesson plans and developing education materials for UK schools. The academy runs both an annual residential course (two and a half days) and one day CPDs.

Since being established, the academy has been supported by the UK Space Agency, the NASA Astrobiology Institute, the Royal Astronomical Society, the Science & Technology Facilities Council and the National Space Academy.

What is Astrobiology?

“Exciting marriage of physics and biology in an interesting, modern context.” Teacher attendee, Astrobiology Academy

Astrobiology is the study of life in the universe. It investigates the origins of life on Earth, how the Earth became a habitable planet, the survival of life in extremes, such as in the deep oceans and in polar ice sheets, and the possibility of life beyond the Earth. The search for life ranges across space and time, as Astrobiology seeks to discover where life may have existed, where it might be now and it’s long term fate in the Universe. We can also learn from these conditions how physical and environmental changes on Earth may affect life here. The Introduction to Astrobiology page has further information to get you started.

What happens at the residential CPD?

The residential CPD in Edinburgh is our main annual training event. The schedule is mostly lectures and workshops where attendees are guided and supported by academic staff. We focus on the link between astrobiology and the curriculum as a principal method to create new lesson plans and activities for secondary schools across the UK. Teachers from across the UK come together and produced lesson plans covering all areas of astrobiology that are also available on TES Resources. At the residential academy there is also an academy dinner and the opportunity to talk and share ideas with other teachers in the evenings at the pub.

Interested? Have a look at the practical information page to learn more.

“I was not just motivated and energised after a frankly long and tiring year. I was sad that the astrobiology academy was coming to an end. It was great seeing the enthusiasm of everyone in presenting the course and how much preparation and care they have taken with the course and us.” Teacher attendee, Astrobiology Academy

Who can attend?

The initiative is open to science teachers and anyone with a science/technology background and good writing skills who are enthusiastic and self-motivated with interests in the fields of chemistry, biology, physics, geology, astronomy or engineering.  Applicants are expected to work together to create and edit astrobiology based lesson plans for secondary schools.  If you are excited by the idea of this science opportunity then register your interest for 2017 now!

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