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School programmes

The Old Obervatory Leiden is one of the partners of the local learning ecosystem ‘Verwonder om de Hoek’, an educational platform from Leiden that lets school children and families wonder about the world of Nature, Science, Technology and Sustainability. On this page you will find the educational programmes the Old Observatory Leiden offers.

Wonder and discover

The school programmes of the Old Observatory have been developed along quality guidelines set up by the partners of ‘Verwonder om de Hoek’. Inquiry based learning and 21st century skills are central and connect the programme to multiple core goals of SLO.

Learning and discovering new things is not just something you do at school: you do it anywhere and at any time, during your entire lifetime. That’s why the Old Observatory does not only offer workshops during school hours, but also offers after-school courses and you can even join the Science Club. More information about how to sign up can be found on this page.


The Old Observatory offers the following workshops:

  • PO 1st and 2nd grade - Workshop ‘Creative with Asteroids’

  • PO 3rd and 4th grade - Workshop ‘Day and Night’

  • PO 5th and 6th grade - Workshop ‘Design your own Alien’

  • PO 7th and 8th grade - Workshop ‘Navigation on Earth’

Workshops are 1.5 hours. The costs and how to reserve can be found on Verwonder om de Hoek.

(Afterschool) courses

The Old Observatory offers besides workshops (afterschool) courses as well. This is a series of 5 to 6 workshops with a continuous educational thread. Students get to meet real scientists and complete the inquiry and design based learning cycle. The courses can be given during our after school.

The Old observatory offers the following courses:

  • PO grade 6 to 8 - Course ‘Travel to a black hole’

  • PO grade 5 and 6 - Course ‘Life in space’

The costs and reservations can be found on Verwonder om de Hoek.

Science club

In 2021 the Old Obervatory has started the Science club together with partners from Leiden. In a period of 10 weeks children from the 6th to 8th grade can follow activities about science, like sidewalk plants (Hortus Botanicus Leiden), a T-rex expedition (Naturalis) or about determining our place on earth (Old Observatory Leiden). The club is active in Stevenshof and Leiden South-West. Does this sound like something for you? Check the website of Verwonder om de Hoek.

Educational projects

Besides workshops and courses for schools the Old Observatory Leiden is also making an effort to make astronomy more accessible to people. On this page you can find several examples of projects and how you can help this effort.

Library telescope

In 2021 the Old observatory set up the project ‘the Libary Telescope’ together with BplusC Leiden. 10 telescopes and 10 binoculars are available for everyone to borrow and take home. Every telescope comes with an instruction guide filled with fun exercises to learn how to handle the telescope and to find stars and planets. The binoculars are an excellent tool to observe the surface of the moon.

Go to one of the BplusC locations in Leiden and see if you can borrow a telescope or pair of binoculars.

Radio astronomy course for ‘profielwerkstuk’

At the moment the Old Observatory Leiden is setting up a course for secondary education (VWO) involving radio astronomy. In this course students set up their own research, work with a real radio antenna and use their own collected data to research how the Milky Way moves. The course contributes to the connection from secondary education to University and shows students what research is like.

Are you a teacher at VWO or are you interested in more information on the project? Send an e-mail to the project manager Sanne van Gammeren (vangammeren@stwr.leidenuniv.nl).

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