This year is going to be quite exciting, certainly in terms of education. I have been a teacher for over 14 years now and I have constantly striven to inspire and motivate children to learn. I must say that it is getting more and more difficult though. Even standing on tables and doing a jig doesn’t seem to attract attention any more – and anyway, my knees can’t stand the strain!
What to do? Well, I have always been fascinated by all things scientific (despite having no science background) and this last year I became involved with ESERO – the European Space Education Resource Office- and took part in their Primary Project. With the expert help of Sue Andrews, I immersed my Year 5 pupils in all things space related. It worked. They sat in awe of astronomers; were mesmerised by moon rocks and learned how to Train Like an Astronaut, plus much more.
The resulting work and enthusiasm from the children was amazing. They were constantly being praised by people we met outside school for their knowledge and understanding. And, at the end of the process, we were among 3 of the first primary schools to be awarded the Gold Space Education Quality Mark – a very proud moment.
Speaking at the recent ESERO UK Space Conference was a great experience and enabled me to meet some of the faces behind the scenes – Heather MacRae for one, who runs the excellent Train Like an Astronaut programme, something we will certainly be taking part in again next year.
There are so many excellent space resources out there. In fact, this school year at Rode Heath we are implementing a whole school space project based around a series of specially designed space passports for each year group. It is intended to last the whole year, and into the future. We have coined a phrase at Rode Heath – restless curiosity. That is what I want children to have – it is so vital for learning.
Anyway, it starts at the beginning of the school year, with a launch during the second week. We have borrowed a real NASA spacesuit and are hoping to spend the day with our STEM ambassadors, the very brilliant Dave Thompson and Roger Gittins, launching rockets and generally having a splendid time.
Let’s hope it doesn’t rain.