May 2015

This month has been dominated by the production of the final fifteen minute video for Rolls-Royce: and what a momentous task it has been! I knew that we had accomplished a great deal, but sifting through the hours of video files really brought home the wealth of experiences that we have actually engaged in.

The first step was to decide how best to tell our story: choosing clips that would demonstrate the breadth and depth of our learning and, perhaps more significantly, would link together seamlessly so that the narrative flowed. Capturing your audience’s attention right from the beginning is vital and we had just the footage for this: images actually recorded in outer space. What a place to start! We were also lucky enough to have John Acres, from Radio Stoke broadcasting the balloon launch throughout the day, so there was plenty of interesting coverage to choose from to accompany the dramatic shots.

However, the exercise was not just about entertaining the children; it was about collecting real data, such as variances in temperature and humidity and logging the height of the balloon and distance travelled – graphs of which are overlaid at various points on the video.

What was really encouraging was the number of people that wanted to have a role in producing the video, to make sure that we put our project across in the best possible light. This included parents, as well as staff. One of the major successes has been the active involvement of fathers, particularly in the area of 3D printing, so I was delighted when Garry Pheasey, whose daughter Heidi is one of my students, agreed to film making a toothbrush holder from concept through to the actual printing. This was no mean feat and I was amazed by the level of concentration displayed by Heidi as she drew the design on paper, measured the toothbrushes and toothpaste to get her dimensions correct and then created the product using Tinkercad – ably assisted by her father, of course. The section of film you actually see on screen is taken from over an hour of video.

Heidi's pot full

What is particularly effective is seeing the finished toothbrush holder actually being used in the bathroom. It is all about children producing products that are fit for purpose and useful – indeed there are now many 3D printed pencil pots residing on desks in the Year 5 classroom.



It has been very interesting to hear the views of parents as this project has progressed and the different impact it has had on their children. One of our parent governors was kind enough to record a short piece for our website, which you can listen to if you follow this link:

The highlight of the month was the visit from Phil and Chris from Rolls-Royce, who came with mountains of equipment to film our 60 second piece for the Awards Dinner. They certainly had plenty of scope for backgrounds, with our own ISS and brightly coloured space displays on offer. And there were plenty of children, from all of the year groups, keen to participate and share their work. One of the very pleasing aspects of this project has been the impact it has had on children’s confidence and their ability to talk about science. If our plans to expand the project into our cluster schools next year go ahead as planned, they will make fantastic space ambassadors.

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Although this phase of the project is drawing to a close and we have spent most of our current budget, we are already making plans for the future: evaluating the objectives in the passports to decide which ones to keep and working with ESERO and STFC to determine how we are going to move forward next year. We are also busy compiling data from pupil and staff questionnaires to include in our evaluation

Part of the remaining budget has been allocated for the purchase of a ’Space Case’ developed by Nottingham Trent University in conjunction with ESA. This will involve children performing a range of investigations to find the material best suited for use in Space on a satellite. It contains different metal alloys and the equipment needed to establish their suitability for satellite construction. It is hoped that we will be able to incorporate this activity into our passports for next year and share this new resource with our cluster schools.

The future for the project is looking very bright. We are determined to keep science at the forefront of our curriculum. Since the beginning of the year there has been a notable increase in the time spent by teachers engaging with science – influenced by the passports. Next year we will continue our space theme, working with other schools, but may develop the computing element of our project at Rode Heath, in partnership with STFC. This will involve investing in Raspberry Pi technology and potentially robotic equipment.

To view our Rolls-Royce video, click on the DVD link below:-


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