School trip to Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre
Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre is a key part of the wider Jodrell Bank site, home to the world-leading Jodrell Bank Observatory and the headquarters for the Square Kilometre Array.
The site is part of the University of Manchester, -the Discovery Centre is one its cultural institutions and the Observatory is part of the University’s School of Physics and Astronomy. The School’s Astronomy research group is named the Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics (JBCA) in honour of the Observatory and its pioneering work in Astrophysics over many decades.
The Jodrell Bank Centre for Astrophysics carries out a wide range of modern astrophysics research. JBCA has particular expertise in radio-mm observational astronomy but also makes observations at a wide range of other wavelengths and combines these with theory and modelling.
School Education Programmes
Their term-time education programme offers unique learning experiences for learners aged 5 to 18, at a site of current and world-leading science research.
This is where the day of discovery begins for all visitors and where their staff will offer you a warm welcome and provide information about your day.
Start your visit by exploring our place in the universe in their first gallery. Its center piece is their astounding clockwork Orrery – a working scale model of our own solar system – the largest of its kind in the World. If you’re lucky you will be able to turn the handle that makes the planets orbit the Sun overhead.
Discover our own solar system, the scale of the Milky Way and the extent of the universe using their interactive screens and games. On these you will find fascinating facts and figures, videos of the latest space missions to explore our solar system and its planets.
They have even included some of the scientific and engineering theory that gets our spaceships into space and our scientific information back to Earth
Visit their Space Pavilion exhibition to discover how Jodrell Bank scientists use radio telescopes to learn more about distant objects in space.
Explore the wonders of the Universe, listen to the sound of the Big Bang, and find out about ‘Big Telescopes’ via a range of hands-on activities.
Visit their film pod for a rolling programme of short films, animation and vintage footage.
How did the universe begin? What is a black hole? What does the Lovell Telescope observe? Our science explainers are always on hand to answer any probing questions you may have.
The Jodrell Bank Discovery Centre has a number of outdoor exhibits and activities. Your group will typically be timetabled half an hour to explore these. Please note this will be self-guided time.
Since this is outside, please bring appropriate clothes in case the weather is inclement. If the weather is severe and you wish to do a different activity, please speak to a member of staff on the day.
Their outdoor exhibits include:
- The Telescope Pathway: Follow the path around the base of the Lovell telescope. Information boards along the way tell the story of the construction of the Lovell telescope and provide information about some of the objects it observes. If you wish to follow this activity, the Telescope Path section in the worksheets contains a puzzle for pupils to complete.
- The Planet Pathway: A scale model of the Solar System hidden throughout the grounds of Jodrell Bank! The planets are represented by circular metal discs set into the ground. If you wish to follow this activity, you can use the Planet Path section in the worksheets to help you.
- Outdoor interactive exhibits: Find out more about Jupiter’s rotation and storms, plus experiment with gravity just like Galileo! (NB: the ‘vortex’ exhibit is only available in the warm summer months).
- The Whispering Dishes: These demonstrate, using sound, how the curved shape of the Lovell telescope amplifies faint signals (please note the Lovell telescope is not actually detecting sound, but radio waves – a form of electromagnetic radiation, similar to light).