Science KS2: The work of Caroline and William Herschel

This vlog style film introduces Caroline Herschel and her brother William.

Caroline talks about their work studying the planets and the solar system, and shares her astronomical discoveries, including comets and nebulae.

She also explains how she was the first woman to discover a comet, which was subsequently named after her, 35 P Herschel-Rigollet.

William talks about how he discovered the planet Uranus.

After being made an assistant to her brother, Caroline Herschel was the first woman to be paid for scientific work.

She made many observations and found 2500 nebulae, summarised in a list called the catalogue of nebulae and clusters of stars – abbreviated to CN.

She recorded her findings precisely by drawing the nebulae.

This clip is from the series Scientists and Scientific Method.

Teacher Notes

As a starter to introduce a practical science activity, you could write a simple quiz to encourage pupils to capture the keywords shown in the video.

Pupils can write their own definitions from these words using the internet or science dictionaries to improve their scientific vocabularies.

To consolidate their knowledge, you could get pupils to make booklets that include key information about the work of Caroline and William Herschel.

They could define the keywords featured in the film, and find five or more pieces of additional pieces of information about the work of the scientists using books, encyclopedias or the internet.

Curriculum Notes

Suitable for teaching Science at Key Stage 2 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and at 2nd Level in Scotland. They also have cross-curricular links with History and Literacy.

More from Scientists and Scientific Method:

The work of the ‘father of optics’ Alhazen
The work of Mary Anning
The work of Nicolaus Copernicus
The work of Charles Darwin and Alfred Wallace
The work of Galileo Galilei
The work of Andre Geim and Konstantin Novoselov
The work of Carl Linnaeus
The work of Sir Isaac Newton