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Using maths and physics to explore astronomy data

  • CalendarAvailable on request
  • Clock outlineUp to 2 hours

Students will learn how to classify galaxies, determine the age of galaxies, and calculate the age of the Universe as well as developing their skills in constructing tables, charts and performing calculations.

By the end of these lessons students should come away with an improved knowledge, and hopefully a renewed interest in astronomy, particularly galaxies and supernovae. They should also have an increased confidence in various physics and maths skills.

Statistics of galaxies (KS3, KS4)

In these lessons students will classify galaxies using a classification scheme and then construct bar charts (KS3) and/or histograms (KS4). They will then calculate measures of central tendency and spread. After this, they can make logical deductions and draw conclusions about the nature of galaxies, and the relationship between accuracy and sample size.

Hubble's law (A-level)

In this lesson, students take data from the Supernova Cosmology Project and investigate Hubble’s Law. They will construct tables, plot graphs, perform graphical analysis and calculate uncertainties. Students make logical deductions and draw conclusions about the expanding Universe, the accuracy of Hubble’s Law, and the relationship between accuracy and sample size.

Each of these lessons has an associated resources packet, available for download in both PDF and Microsoft Office formats.

The resources can be tailored for both short and long lessons, as well as for foundation or higher-level students. You can link to various elements of the curriculum such as physics, astronomy, cosmology, supernovae, graphical analysis.

Find out more

For more information about the activity, please visit our website.

About the organiser

This activity is organised by School pf Physics and Astronomy. Contact us at for more details.

How to book

Resources to run these activities can be downloaded form our website. For any queries please contact the Physics and Astronomy outreach team:

TicketThis activity is free

GlobeAccess the activity resources online


  • TickKey stage three - ages 11-14, years 7-9
  • TickKey stage four - ages 14-16, years 10-11

Teacher supervision is required.

Curriculum themes

  • TickMathematics and numeracy
  • TickScience and technology

Activity type

  • TickActivity


  • TickSupporting curriculum themes

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