Journal of Science Education and Technology

, Volume 24, Issue 6, pp 747–760 | Cite as

Inquiry-Based Educational Design for Large-Scale High School Astronomy Projects Using Real Telescopes

  • Michael Fitzgerald
  • David H. McKinnon
  • Lena Danaia


In this paper, we outline the theory behind the educational design used to implement a large-scale high school astronomy education project. This design was created in response to the realization of ineffective educational design in the initial early stages of the project. The new design follows an iterative improvement model where the materials and general approach can evolve in response to solicited feedback. The improvement cycle concentrates on avoiding overly positive self-evaluation while addressing relevant external school and community factors while concentrating on backward mapping from clearly set goals. Limiting factors, including time, resources, support and the potential for failure in the classroom, are dealt with as much as possible in the large-scale design allowing teachers the best chance of successful implementation in their real-world classroom. The actual approach adopted following the principles of this design is also outlined, which has seen success in bringing real astronomical data and access to telescopes into the high school classroom.


High school Inquiry-based teaching Astronomy education Educational design 



We acknowledge the project from which the teacher data are drawn: Space to Grow Australian Research Council Linkage Grant (Grant Number: LP0989264). MF acknowledges receipt of MQRES PhD scholarship from Macquarie University.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael Fitzgerald
    • 1
    • 2
  • David H. McKinnon
    • 2
  • Lena Danaia
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Physics and AstronomyMacquarie UniversityNorth RydeAustralia
  2. 2.School of EducationEdith Cowan UniversityJoondalupAustralia
  3. 3.School of Teacher EducationCharles Sturt UniversityBathurstAustralia

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