Working with the Sokol spacesuit

It has been another exciting week at Rode Heath with classes vying for the Sokol spacesuit. Indeed news of its presence quickly spread with eager Year 7s returning to catch a glimpse amid cries of “Why didn’t we have this last year?” Even our Code Club leader was spotted surreptitiously taking a sneaky selfie with the suit to vamp up his social media profile. Lots had to be drawn in Year 5, as everyone wanted to try the suit on whilst they had a chance.

Mr Randall valiantly dressed up again, but this time he gave a running commentary whilst being aided by Miss Moss and Mrs Hesketh. The result is an excellent “How to put on a Sokol spacesuit” DVD, which we are going to include inside the suitcase. It should certainly save time for the next recipients.

Activities with the suit varied. Once we worked out how to take the gloves off, this allowed for some interesting investigations including how quickly could children put split pins in a yoghurt pot wearing them. Would they be much slower than their gloveless friends? Would girls be faster than boys? The results were indeed very entertaining and allowed more of the children to at least experience part of the suit and the potential difficulties of working in a space environment.

The handwriting task was also very revealing. Everyone had to write their name with and without a glove on. Most children fared better without a glove; although, there were a few who will now be issued with thick rubber gloves as part of their school equipment!

In Year 1 the children learned about the hazards of small meteorites when working outside the ISS. They simulated the effects by stabbing potatoes with straws, which caused much merriment – don’t buy them at Home Bargains next time Miss Scott as they need to stand up to the Year 1’s enthusiastic pounding! As with all good science, this led to an investigation in which potatoes were covered to see which materials would withstand the battering best.

Year 4 wrote some excellent instructions, using impressive vocabulary such as ‘Crouch down …’ and Year 6 designed their own space suits, based on what they had learned. Every child had their photo taken with the space suit – some inside our excellent space station. What an amazing image to put in the back of their space passport.

Sadly, the suit is due to leave us on Monday, but it has been a wonderful experience that none of us will forget.

Next week read about the Year 5 trip to the National Space Centre, where we are going to take part in a mission to build and launch a probe to rendezvous with a Comet. Wonder if it will be 67P?

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