Astronomy for kids

Why Astronomy Isn’t Taught In Schools And What Can We Do About It?

Why Astronomy Isn't Taught In Schools And What Can We Do About It? 1

Bogdan Teodorescu

Author at 'The Secrets Of The Universe', I am a science student from Romania. I am also the founder of Astronomy Hub, an organization for popularizing astronomy and astrophysics. I love reading philosophy and literature, enjoy classical rock, blues, and watch movies.

Talking in schools, meeting children, and answering their questions have been absolutely enriching experiences for me. In a world full of negativity, politics, madmen, and 5G conspiracies, talking to a child about science can do so much good to anyone. It gives you a sense of excitement and optimism about the future. It reminds you that there could be an amazing future in front of us if we would want bad enough to make use of it.

You may probably tell me that the world’s problems right now won’t be solved by just talking to a kid. The truth is, most of the problems in the world could be solved if we work hard enough in educating those children. I strongly believe in the idea that any kid can do amazing things if encouraged in the right direction. I’ve seen that. Not once. 

Why Astronomy Isn't Taught In Schools And What Can We Do About It? 2

Astronomy in schools

Not necessarily. Physics and general science training would be a lot more useful. Astronomy is a specific branch of physics, so guiding students directly to astronomy could make more bad than good. There is the risk of learning the physics concepts superficially, which would be no good. However, this affirmation should be rectified. 

I started studying astronomy alone. I began with Hawking’s books, going for Carl Sagan and Neil deGrasse Tyson after that. And many more followed. For a few years, that is where I got most of my knowledge from. Astronomy was mostly a field I saw online and far out of sight. I couldn’t talk to people about my new passion, and when I brought up the subject to my physics teacher back then, he told me quickly that he’ll give me something to read.

That was all. I also tried reaching out to the city’s astronomical observatory, but the phone number given on the website was most probably wrong, and nobody returned my emails. 

Read all the articles of the Basics of Astrophysics series here

When I entered a new school, I found a teacher who helped me a lot and gave me the basics of astronomy. A year later, I founded my own organization and set up astronomy and astrophysics after-school classes. I met a few people working for another organization in Romania, and we now often team up for public events. I also got to know the observatory people now, and we organize events there too from time to time. 

I met a lot of gifted children and teenagers. Some of them have decided to go for a career in astronomy, and some have said that the classes we organized were essential to them. 

I don’t think astronomy should be included in the school curriculum, but I believe it should be included as an after-school class or optional subject. Many children need that, and there are a great number of activities that can introduce kids and teenagers to the field. Also, activities simulating scientific research are very much needed. 

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Without physics, there is not much that can be taught in astronomy. I’ll give you a simple example. Suppose we have to teach the solar system to school kids. We can tell them about the planets, their features, and how some of them were discovered. These are just the facts that we are telling.

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But to understand the working of the solar system properly, that is, to understand how the planets move around the Sun or how the solar system formed, we need to teach them Newton’s theory of gravity and then Kepler’s laws. Not to mention the differential calculus involved. So, if we have to teach astronomy properly, we need to focus on physics.

To spark a student’s interest in this subject, observational astronomy is a better way. Schools must organize evening sessions in which they arrange for a telescope and let the kids gaze at the night sky. Such events make the students curious, which they will understand and relish.

If you love astronomy

I love interacting with all of you, and The Secrets of the Universe has done so much for me in that direction, helping me get to you. I have one wish from all of you reading this article: if you’re a kid, or teenager interested in astronomy or astrophysics, do something about it. You can totally have a career in the field, no doubt about that. Ask around, see what you can do, start studying. Join a course, ask your teachers about it, and don’t, don’t ever give up on this. Write to me about your progress if you want.

If you’re an adult, get your passion to the next level. Join, make a group of passionate and interested people, and go out together for observation nights. I’m almost sure that you can find people like you in every city, it’s just that you didn’t look hard enough. If you fail, write to me, and I’ll try to give you some advice. Finally, if you’re a parent, encourage your kids to explore all science fields and engage them in scientific conversations and activities.

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18 thoughts on “Why Astronomy Isn’t Taught In Schools And What Can We Do About It?”

  1. Musarat Tauseef

    Enjoyed reading your article, am intrigued by the Universe! Unfortunately did not study science or physics. Am a teacher and would love to introduce you to my students IA

    1. Bogdan Teodorescu

      Hello, I’m so glad to hear that. If you want to give me more details, contact me directly through my email. I could even join you on a Zoom or Skype session with your students for a short talk sometime

  2. I read your whole article and one thing I certainly tell you that by reading your article I can relate my self with this because in indian education system in science we don’t found astronomy as only 1 chapter in 11-12th Science.
    In India when kids are in primary they have very curiosity about Spce and when they question about anything out of syllabus their question ignored by telling that if you will select science in 11-12th then you will go through all this and when they select science as major subject they are forced by teachers and parents to do engineering so they can earn well and make their life stable and that’s where their interest fall in science.I am telling this because I also forced by my teacher and relative to do engineering.This subject it’s self very interesting so it should be use as tool to hook kids to the subject like physics.
    I am also student of science. I am pursuing my master degree in physics from India.I personally feels that if India has to revolutionize its education system then they have to start from primary education………
    You have chosen a very nice topic of the article and I extremely liked it .Keep writing…

    1. I want to know that, in which class you started to study astronomy?
      And when should we starts, if we wnt to make our Currier in astronomy.
      I will thankful to you if you Reply ❤❤❤❤

      1. Bogdan Teodorescu

        Raj, I started studying when I was 13-14. I got into the ‘harder’ and more technical details when I was around 15, starting high school. There still are fields that are far from my reach, but I’m taking it step by step and working through the maths slowly 🙂

    2. Bogdan Teodorescu

      I am very happy that you are interested Akshay. Feel free to talk to me whenever you want, and keep me in touch with your progress. And how knows, I am open to interesting collaborations, if you get some ideas 🙂

  3. It’s really wonderful to read your article sir, the way you exaplin it and how we relate it totally amazing.

    1. Bogdan Teodorescu

      So happy to see my readers appreciate what I write 🙂 I love that some of you relate to my experiences. Keep lookin’ up. Feel free to ask if you have any questions. I will try to answer them in time

  4. Hey so I read your article and I’m really moved cause this actually happens with me now I’m from india and here in schools they don’t take astronomy like I want to. Yes we have an extra activities and there we have astronomy club but because of less students our teacher was not interested in teaching anything whenever I look up and ask something they say oh! yes that’s an interesting question and instead of tell me anything about it he say may be you can search about it and let me also know. And then there was nothing else to ask or say and others students say why are you even wasting your time in that and that’s way more irritating.
    I am in grade 11 now and in our senior high we are not even allowed to take part in any activities .

    1. Bogdan Teodorescu

      Maybe you want to contact me on email. I will give you a reading list and some advice to get started in the field. The first and most important thing for you now is to join a technical university, most preferable physics. That, of course, if you are good with maths and physics. If not that good, you can still make amazing contributions from the position of amateur astronomer! It’s up to you, but if you want more advice and details you can just send me an email and I’ll do my best to answer you in the shortest time possible

  5. Sir, I can totally relate with your article. I am 12th class student in India. We have chapters about almost all topics except astronomy. If asked my physics teacher about something, he generally tries to avoid it and give a vague answer. Moreover, studying on my own is something which is not possible. Our course is very vast and we have cut throat competition.So many people have same percentile and if we don’t get 99.99 percentile, its all over.
    My teachers are decent but no one wants to talk about astronomy, its like a taboo to talk about it, no one gives accurate answers. Due to this fact, astronomy should be taught in school!!
    I love your articles, they are really knowledgeable and easy to understand. Hope you keep writing more!!

    1. Bogdan Teodorescu

      I sure will. I am happy that you enjoy my articles, that is what I am looking for. If you need advice regarding your astronomy progress, you can send me a short email and I’ll try to write back. Regarding the thing with the teachers, I definitely know what you’re talking about. Keep lookin’ up

  6. A little astronomy is included in the UK’s National Curriculum and the children are quite interested, though it was not part of my education in the 60s.

    1. Bogdan Teodorescu

      I have a good friend who founded the National Olympiad in the UK, giving the UK access to the international olympiad. The students there have great results!

  7. You are amazing. Great articles and thank you for inviting those with this passion to contact you as their mentor! Blessings.

  8. Vardaan Srivastava

    Dear sir,
    You said that you founded an organization after school. Sir can you pls give a detail about that, I mean that what work did you do, what was the org. about, etc. I would be really grateful, if you could tell me about this. I am 14 years old, and my passion in astronomy developed during the lockdown in India. I joined science groups on whatsapp. My home group was Relative Science. I found a person named as @i_am_made_up_of starstuff(insta id), in the group and a girl, on the telegram group. The girl asked us to study a topic daily and discuss at last. I found this as a win-win deal so i started researching and stuff. These guys have helped me a lot during my journey through astro and quantum physics.

    At last, I would like to know about the organization, so maybe in the future, I could probably do something great like you. And also could you give some info of season 2 of basics of quantum mech.?

    A big fan of the Secrets Of The Universe,
    Vardaan

  9. Hi Bogdan. I’m Romanian too, but for the sake of this conversation I will write this in English. I actually studied astronomy in the 11th grade, back in Romania. This was 25 years ago. There was actually a textbook for that (I think I still have it somewhere at home), but it was just the basics and you know how the school curriculum is structured in Romania. Lots of things changed in 25 years. 🙂 Probably astronomy is not being taught anymore there. Your idea is a very good one and should be pursued in every country. Science is very important for the future development of the world and in reaching the goal of humanity to become an interplanetary species.

  10. Pravat Kumar Senapati

    Astronomy and Physics is one of the basic need of education and its language Mathematics should be made compulsory to all the children in the school. Combined these subject will create an analytical ecosystem of logical ideas and the knowledge to understand the vast reality around ourselves and how they work.
    I think Astronomical zones and Planetorium for study and star gazing and Science parks with the understanding of the application of physical laws. These education zones should be created in every cities and weekly tour of school children really helps to understand the practical approach to the application of it.

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