Category Archives: Children & Parents

Ballistic Balloon Mission

On the 17th of March, Rode Heath Primary School launched their mission Ballistic Balloon in the school playing field. The whole school was extremely excited including Mrs Wiskow who was especially enthusiastic about our once in a life-time experience.

The mission was organised by Alex and Chris from Sent Into Space. This company specialises in sending balloons outside the Earth’s atmosphere. In a brief assembly they explained all about the payload, and what was inside it. There was a tracking device so we knew where it was; a camera so it could take pictures of the earth from space and on the outside of our payload were the winning mission patches we designed before the launch.

The balloon we used was made out of latex and was filled with helium. This gas is lighter than air; therefore it can travel further into space. When it was on the ground it was roughly 3m x 3m. The air pressure on earth is different than in space, so the balloon expands more than on Earth. The reason for this is that there is no air pressure in space, so the balloon is forced outwards by the helium inside which wants to escape. Eventually it pushes the balloon to a massive diameter of 10m. When it becomes too big to expand anymore it pops leaving the parachute to bring our payload safely back down to earth.

As it was such an enormous event, reporters and BBC Radio Stoke’s reporter, John, interviewed a few lucky pupils about what they thought about the whole Out Of This World Mission, and later they heard themselves on the radio!

After an exciting day, the school received a phone call saying the balloon had popped above Buxton and had eventually landed in Matlock. Where did it land though?

UP A TREE OF COURSE, and it took 4 HOURS to retrieve it!!

Our day out at the House of Commons

On Tuesday 3rd March Millie, Heidi, Pierce, Mrs Pheasey, Mrs Wiskow and I got on the train to London. The journey took about 2½ hours. We then had to take a taxi to the Houses of Parliament. We got out of the taxi close to the entrance and when we arrived we were given passes before we went through security.

All of us then made our way to Westminster Hall and we took a few photographs on the way. Once we were in there, we met our MP, Fiona Bruce, who showed us around and let us go into the Green Room. We even went where the MPs have their lunch – they have an amazing view!

What I liked the most when Fiona was showing us round was the chandelier. It was huge! All of the ceilings were pretty amazing too. There were lots of patterns on them.

We went back to Westminster Hall to wait for the Mission X Show & Tell to start. When it was time we all made our way to the room that it was being held in.

There were six schools there and all of them were taking part in Mission X. But before we started, a few people talked to us about not giving up on your dreams and what they had done to make their dreams come true.

One lady was a four time triathlon winner and she also holds the world record for doing an Iron Man triathlon in just over 8 hours. When it came to our turn, Mrs Wiskow, Mrs Pheasey and Millie did a speech on what we have been doing. Pierce demonstrated the grip strength and Heidi and I demonstrated the lung capacity.

Once it had finished we had a few photos taken with all of the important people who were there. We also had our space passports signed. Once we had done all of that we got ready to go back on the train home. On our way out we were given Mission X patches and a Mission X flag. We caught a taxi to the train station and got on the train. We all had an amazing day!

By Hermione Pugh – Year 5

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Photos kindly taken by Michael Cockerham

Wow, what an amazing experience. On the 3rd March 2015, I was one of the few people to go and visit the House of Commons – 4 students and 2 adults had the time of their lives and I was so lucky to be part of it.

After a short car journey to Crewe station we finally boarded the train. We had lots of entertainment for the journey so none of us got bored on the 2½ hour ride. We hopped off the train with full tummies as we had lots of snacks and headed to hail a taxi. Luckily the adults had more experience and got one in no time. On the way we saw lots of tourist attractions, including Nelson’s Column, Big Ben, the London Eye and even a sign to go and see Matilda the show (fingers crossed).

We arrived at the House of Commons and had to have our bags checked (you never know what people hide!). We waited around for a bit and then had a chance to go to the gift shop to buy what we wanted. At around 2pm, we met our MP, Fiona Bruce, who was happy to have pictures taken with us.

We also got to meet Johnny Munro, her Parliamentary Manager, who took photos of us and also helped Fiona Bruce. She kindly took us to the gallery to view the parliamentary business in the Chamber. We then moved on to the presentation and we got to hear the other schools’ space projects. The two I especially liked were the school that blended the chocolate cake and water which made a powdery mixture and also the school that made the space animation.

Finally it was our turn, I think I was most nervous because I had to give a speech, but luckily I had it written down and it was all okay (Phew!)

The funniest moment of the day was the end, and get ready because this time the teachers’ experience of hailing a taxi didn’t come in handy. We stood at the side of the road for ages, shouting and waving at lots of different taxis and only 2 came, but they both only carried 5 people. In the end we got a 5-seater and Mrs Pheasey went to get the Tube. Unfortunately, she had left her money with us and had to get a taxi after all.

We waited for her to arrive and Hermione thought she saw her and Mrs Wiskow almost ended up paying the wrong driver. Oh no!

Millie Leese – Year 5


Wednesday 25th February 2015

What an incredible experience! The whole school arrived at Manchester Metropolitan University ready for their Google Hangout with Tim Peake. Hermione, my sister Olivia and I arrived early so that if a reporter came, there would be some children to interview. Mrs Wiskow took the three of us in her car and we joined Mrs Pheasey and a few other girls (who were ex-pupils of Rode Heath) at 8:30am. The Hangout was due to start at 10:00am, so we still had an hour and thirty minutes of waiting time.

The rest of the school arrived soon afterwards and we were finally ready. Tim appeared on the huge screen and we all cheered. I was even able to ask him a question! In fact we all of the 21 pupils chosen had time to pose their questions – even Mrs Pheasey managed a couple at the end!

As a prize for asking a great question each one of those pupils received a specially designed T-shirt with the words ‘I have ‘hung out’ with Tim Peake’ on the back. Tim even had one too. Before the Hangout our school had sent him seven copies of our Space passports (one from each year group), which he had spread out across his desk. He told us that he was very impressed with the work we had been doing. We also sent him a T-shirt, like ours, but there was one difference. His said ‘I have ‘hung out’ with Rode Heath Primary’ on the back. He was even wearing it underneath his astronaut overall! We were all flabbergasted!

After the Hangout everyone went back to school, but it wasn’t over for Hermione, my sister Olivia and me. We were all interviewed by BBC Radio Stoke about our talk with Tim. It was an amazing day, one which I will certainly never forget.

Hannah Taylor

Year 6 Views on MMU Visit

MMU Visit

The Rode Heath children were very fortunate to experience a day at the Crewe campus of Manchester University on Wednesday.  “How To Train Like An Astronaut.”

In the morning they met Mrs. Pheasey in the library and then had a tour of the campus which included a visit to the Halls of Residence.  Here they had an insight into the working day of a student and their way of life.  Chatting to the students, our children enjoyed the chance to ask them questions.

The older children stayed for a meal at the university where they ate food that astronauts could only dream of, i.e chips and sausage etc.

The Astronaut Training included how strong they were with their hands and arms, how much air was in their lungs and timed running between gates with a camera finish.  Team building exercises included walking together on a pair of large skis and a “Crystal Maze” type game.

The children also watched a presentation about robots.

Mr Leech (who in his youth had attended Crewe Campus) proudly returned there as the Headteacher of our lovely children.

We can be sure that the children gained a wealth of different memories. Thank-you to all involved for a great day!

Susan Brookes Smith

(Year 6 parent)


Out of this world

Wednesday 14 January 2015 was by far the most memorable day of this academic year. We went to MMU (Manchester Metropolitan University). We went there to train like an astronaut as our topic is (try to) train like an astronaut. Our favourite part was team building because it was very challenging for the whole class. The coolest part was standing in -200C (the same temperature as a freezer.) Sadly, the worst part of the day was while we were coming back from the university.

By Mollie and Hasan

Year 6


Train like an astronaut

Yesterday we went to the MMU to train like an astronaut. They took us round the campus and we learnt about the life of a university pupil. We had to run through cameras to test how fast we could run. We had to blow in to a piece apparatus to measure our oxygen level.

We had to test how long we could hold a plank for. We got put in an environmental chamber which was -20 degrees that is the same temperature as your freezer at home. Another experiment that we did was to test our muscle strength.

There was a jump mat and it was testing how long we were in the air. We tested our team work and concentration we tried get a cross some blocks and only three pieces of wood between 13 of us it was difficult but we did it without any one falling off.

By Maisy and Kieran


Rode Heath at MMU

On the 14th January 2015 KS2 went to the MMU in Crewe. It was by far one of the best days of our lives.

There were a series of tasks that we had to do such as, an asthma test, a strength test and such more. We visited there because would like to Train like an Astronaut! We also went in to a freezer (Environment Chamber) it got up to -200C degrees.

One of the best things we did was the sprinting. We all enjoyed running as fast as we could from gate to gate. Another thing we did for mission x was the inhaler test where we had to take a deep breath and blow as much oxygen into a thermometer and see how much oxygen we had inside us (we had to blow into the thermometer quite quickly).

One of the other tests was a strength test where you have to squeeze an instrument that tested your strength in your arm.

We also did a jumping test. We had to stand on a rubber platform connected to a computer and jump as high as we could. This tested how high we can jump.

In twelve weeks’ time we will do activities similar to these and see if we have improved on any of them.

We definitely recommend this marvellous university for a school trip.


By Evan and Sophie.

On Wednesday 14th we went on a trip to Manchester Metropolitan University. One of our favourite bits was the team building activity where you had to get a bottle of acid (pretend, not real) from one side of the hall to the other. You had to do this by making bridges with only three planks without touching the floor or you had to start all over again.  This would be helpful for astronauts as they need balance in space and helping each other. They need to work as a team to overcome difficulties and so did we with this activity.

We had a tour around the campus and learnt how students live. Then we found out about some of the students who live there and gossiped with them.

Next we went to the student zone and had lunch which was delicious. We had lots of fun learning about robots and saw some amazing ones who can: dance, play the violin, solve a rubix cube and look like humans. We learnt how robots can help us in the future.

Finally we did lots of sporting activities for our train like an astronaut. We had a lovely day and hope we come back soon.

Eva-Mae & Amelia


Robotics in Year 6

In the last week of term, Year 6 was lucky enough to have an amazing afternoon as part of the Out Of This World project.  Doctor Louise Dennis from the department of computer science at the University of Liverpool came in and told us a little bit about Robotics. It was a brilliant experience because we have never controlled miniature robots before.

Robotics, we learnt, is the branch of technology that deals with the design, construction, operation and application of robots.

Using computers we controlled smaller versions of rovers called Noor, Karen and Claudia by laptops. There were a set of instructions that we had to use so that the rover moved.  The instructions were things like: forward, reverse, right, left etc.

Also there were tasks we had to complete which were: make sure the flap was working, work on the delay and find out how long it took to go forward.

Sophie, Alex, Amelie and Isabelle worked together on Claudia.

Chantelle, Izzy and George worked on Noor.

Jo, Ryan, Kieran and Charlie worked on Karen.

We hope we can have this experience again sometime in life.

By Sophie Richardson & Alexandra Hilditch

Year 6 2 Year 6 3 Year 6 1

Making learning informative and fun!

Well, what a year this is turning out to be and who would have thought my daughter, Jessica Smith, would have found the whole subject of space and astronauts so enthralling. This was a topic that Jessica had never shown any enthusiasm for, but now – WOW! – she is totally fascinated by the facts about the ISS and more so with the wonders of Tim Peake.

Her enthusiasm I am sure is down to a totally inspiring and passionate teacher, who is totally transforming my daughter’s understanding about space and the ISS.

Jessica will now turn the television over to watch any TV show relating to space or the ISS and can talk in detail about Tim Peake. Moreover, she is now drawing and making models of the things that she is learning about.

Working on this topic has also had an impact on Jessica’s general school work. She wants to do well all the time so then maybe, the class will get a reward of more space time.

Jessica talking endlessly about the Sokol spacesuit that the school had on loan and found the antics of the teaching staff trying to get out of the outfit hilarious.  As a result, learning is not just very informative, but it is entertaining and because the school is making it so much fun, the kids are gaining much knowledge, enjoyment and a sense of achievement.

For me as Jessica’s mum, out of all the activities the school has done around this topic so far, I found the Open Morning that the school held to be absolutely wonderful. To be able to work so closely with my child, on a subject that she is totally enthralled by, delighted me. Making the model of the ISS – although very sticky – was great fun, and to be told by my 9 year old daughter, “Er, Mum, do you know nothing about the ISS – that bit doesn’t go there!” was a great moment. She has a world of knowledge now about a subject that in September she knew nothing about.

Well done, Rode Heath, for teaching in such a fun, entertaining and interesting way.

Lorraine Smith


Jess and the Sokol spacesuit


Jess demonstrating how difficult it is to move in micro gravity.

2/12/14 Martian Soil and Galactic pass the parcel

Martian Soil & Galactic Pass the Parcel

Sue Andrews from ESERO came into school to do a morning on Martian soil. She gave us all a challenge. We had to try and decide which one of the samples was closest to the real Martial soil. We had to do several tests to find out.

We worked in a team and we each had a job which was exciting because we each had our own responsibility. For example, someone was in charge of health and safety so they had to make sure that everyone wore glasses – I felt like a real scientist when I put mine on!

It was challenging, but fun at the same time. My favourite part was when we were able to watch the water evaporate whilst it was over a candle.

We learnt how scientists test soil samples and our whole class liked it, so it would be really good if we could do something like that again. It tested our teamwork and increased our knowledge about space.

Hermione Pugh

Martian soil IMG_2058 IMG_2056 IMG_2055

On Monday Year 4 took part in a galactic game of pass the parcel.  Every time someone unwrapped a layer there was something new to learn.  One of my favourite facts was that if something gets sucked into a black hole it gets stretched a lot while also getting thinner.  We were wondering how liquid or gas could be stretched.  Another fact we learnt is that there are 10, 000, 000 stars in the sky.  We figured this out by volunteers coming up and making the number ten times bigger by adding zeros until we had the right number of stars.  We found it amazing!  I unwrapped a layer; it was exciting waiting to find out what I would discover … it was ‘matter’.  We learnt that everything is made from matter.

Aiden Austin and Amelie Pepper

IMG_2052 Galactic Pass the Parcel 3

Capturing Children’s Imaginations

As a parent it is wonderful to see my daughter coming home from school so excited about the subject she is learning about.  The space theme has really captured her imagination.  She has come home since the start of September telling me all about the stars and constellations and Carys’s favourite, comet 67P.  When I asked why she likes learning all about it so much she replied “because its lots of fun”.  So Carys probably doesn’t even realise just how much she is learning and taking in.
I also enjoyed spending a couple of hours in the classroom on the open morning.  To spend some time with her, making things and just seeing what she is like in the classroom was fantastic.  We both liked making the stars collage and the Space Station we made has pride of place in her bedroom.
I am slightly biased but because of this topic and the school trip to The Space Centre in Leicestershire, Carys had her five minutes of fame on the Chris Evans Breakfast Show.  This was completely her idea to phone in, she was so excited to be going on the trip and loved telling Chris all about it.
Long may this exciting, fun and enthusiastic learning journey continue.

Comets, Rosetta, Philae & 67P

This week has been amazing, by Heidi Pheasey (with help from Poppy Williams)

Heidi & spine

The week started off as normal with a Monday and Tuesday filled with maths, guided-reading, literacy and some fun art work with Mrs Malem, creating a beautiful Remembrance Day poppy picture for our class display.

Wednesday was extremely different! We had this insane assembly, where Mrs Ross came wearing a white science coat and carrying steaming, crackling dry ice. We watched some interesting videos about the comet chaser called Rosetta, its Philae Probe and the comet 67P. After that, Mrs Ross tried to make a comet of her own asking someone from the audience to help her make it. She got some water and poured it in to a plastic bag and then she added some sand and soil followed by 10 drops of Tabasco sauce (to represent organic matter). Mrs Ross then added the dry ice to all of the ingredients, which made it crackle and stick together. Lots of carbon dioxide came out like a gust of wind across your face. Once Mrs Ross pushed it all together, she finally released her hands, grabbed hold of the comet inside the plastic bag and revealed it to us all! Wow, what an exciting way to start the day…

After lunch Year 5 went outside and watched Mrs Ross launch bottles rockets with dry ice. First she poured some water in a small bottle, then put some dry ice in with it. She shook the bottle and gently placed it in the ground. Suddenly, the bottle exploded, flying really high. One of the bottles nearly hit Mrs Malem! Afterwards, we went back into our classroom, where Mrs Wiskow explained how astronauts grow taller in space because there is no gravity. Mrs Wiskow set us homework to measure how much our bodies shrink during the day, because gravity is pushing down on us all the time. We had to measure our height when we woke up and just before we go to sleep. I found all this information really exciting, so when I got home I rang my Dad and asked him if he had a model of a spine that I could borrow for school.

He did! So I took it to school the next day, everyone thought it was amazing (Jonny Hart from Year 4 thought it looked like dinosaur’s neck bones). We had a little lesson about it, Mrs Wiskow asked “Does anyone know how we shrink ?”, I put my hand up straight away, but wasn’t allowed to say the answer because she knew I would get it right.  In the end no one knew, so Mrs Wiskow asked me! In between the bones of the spine we have discs that are squashed during the day. I call the discs pillows because my Mum said they are like a pillow you sit on, when you get up they return back to size. Did you know it is like that with our discs when we sleep?


When I got home I asked my Mum how much we grow in space. She didn’t know, so she suggested she that as she is running the Out of This World project’s twitter account (@OotW_UK) she could use it to ask Tim Peake for our class. Here is his answer and my reply to him.

Did you know scientists use the symbol delta (Δ) to mean “change in”, so when my Mum wrote ‘Dheight’ in her tweet to Tim it was short for ‘change in height’? Also, 2 inches is the same as 5 centimetres, so if I am 138cm on earth now, I would be 143cm in space – tall enough for Alton Towers, yippee!


Space Assembly & 3D Printers

On Monday 13th October there was an assembly about space. It was amazing to see all the classes’ space work. Even the Reception class joined in and some of them are only 4! My class, Year 5, did a presentation for the start and Heidi, Jack and Ben showed their ISS models. Frankie shared her poem and Izzy showed her 3D version of The Plough constellation.

After that, Oliver from Year 6 shared his presentation about Solar Energy and then Year 4 showed the work they had been doing in maths – using pie charts to illustrate a typical astronaut’s day. Year 3 children demonstrated what happened when they dropped their Lunar modules. Both Year 2 and Year 1 had done tangrams and Reception showed an outstanding array of pictures.

Exciting news is that finally our 3D printers are here. What a relief! We have already tried them out and printed a variety of things including an octopus, SpaceBot, chain, words and we have even scanned and printed Yoda from Star Wars.

I am looking forward to having the opportunity to design something from scratch.

By James Biddulph

One of our Makerbot Minis.

One of our Makerbot Minis.