AstroQuest is a citizen scientist research project designed in a gaming format. By participating, teachers and students will not only gain an insight into galaxies that populate our Universe, they will assist astronomers with an extensive research project. Vast numbers of images are produced from largescale sky surveys – too many for the scientists to check manually. Computer algorithms are developed but they need to be taught how to read the images correctly. Citizen scientists will assist astronomers in examining images to check on the results provided by the computer. The astronomers will use the results to refine the computer models used in the AstroQuest project leading to improved models of star formation and galaxy evolution. The evidence gathered will allow astronomers to further refine the story of the origin and formation of the Universe from the Big Bang to the present day.
See the guides below for Australian curriculum links, activities and assessment guides across the Science (Science Understanding and Science as a Human Endeavour) and Digital Technologies Curriculum.
Upper Primary Digital Technologies Curriculum guide coming soon.
We recommend that teachers register and watch the tutorial before getting their students inspecting galaxies.
How to register
Choose the school group option when you register.
Then go to My Profile after logging in to your new account. There is a “Manage Sub-users” button at the bottom of the page. Clicking here will expand the tools used to create student accounts.
You can find more detailed instructions about how to manage sub-users in this Get Started Guide.
Once registered, if you’d like us to send you some AstroQuest rewards for your students please contact us with your address and how many rewards you need and we’ll send some to you (within Australia).
How to get your students involved
Detailed information, including assessment suggestions, is included in the Teachers Guides linked above.
There are two main ways you can get your students involved in inspecting galaxies in AstroQuest.
1. All together as a group
To do this you’ll need to be able to project the website onto a screen.
Login and take the class through the tutorial as a group.
(Note: if you’ve already done the tutorial you’ll need to open it again – you can find it under the ‘Check Tutorial’ button on the classifying window.)
Here’s some suggestions…
+ Watch the tutorial as a group and discuss any questions.
+ Discuss various galaxies. If you have questions, write them down and see if you can find answers in the FAQ.
+ Have a look at the Guide to AstroQuest.
Once your class has done the tutorial you’re ready to inspect the galaxies together.
There may be disagreement in the class about what you can see in each image.
Remember, the galaxy’s edge can be very hard to identify– even the astronomers disagree! Just go with what the majority thinks.
If you have any questions you can’t find the answer to, then send them in via the FAQ and we’ll try and answer them.
2. Students inspect galaxies by themselves
To do this you’ll need a computer or laptop for the students.
If possible, go through the tutorial as a group on a big screen.
Otherwise, get each student to go through the tutorial by themselves. To do this they’ll have to log in with the email address and password you registered. After logging in, they’ll need to open the tutorial by clicking on the ‘check tutorial’ button below the check-list in AstroQuest.
After watching the tutorial, the students can start inspecting galaxies. All students need to be logged in with the email address and password you registered for the galaxies to count towards your group total.
If you have any questions that can’t be answered then send them in via the FAQ and we’ll try and answer them.