What an amazing start to the academic year this has been. The school and wider community have been literally buzzing with conversations about space. Our Out of This World project is well and truly underway.
It all started with the launch on Wednesday 10th September. The whole school gathered for a special assembly, highlights of which were a personal letter from Tim Peake; Mr Randall, our Year 3 teacher, floating in wearing the Sokol spacesuit to the tune of 2001 A Space Odyssey and a pop bottle rocket blasting off from one side of the hall to another. The rest of the day was spent in making and firing rockets with the help of our STEM ambassadors, Rocket Rog and Dave. We learned about Newton’s third law of motion and the effects of air resistance along the way. The competition was eventually won by the Year 3s, who sent their rocket a staggering 63m. Spending so much time in the spacesuit has obviously given Mr Randall special powers.
We were lucky enough to keep the space suit for two whole weeks, during which time, as well as trying to climb in and out of it (much more difficult than you think!), we carried out various activities across the school including investigations with the gloves, designing our own space suits and writing instructions as to how to put a space suit on. We even produced a DVD to help the next recipients: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1FMzdWfsl04.
The following week the Year 5s were treated to the experience of a lifetime when we visited the National Space Centre in Leicester and took part in a mission to rendezvous with and land a probe on a comet. The Challenger Learning Centre is the only one of its kind in Europe and was set up with money raised following the Challenger disaster in 1986. It was as a direct result of the Rolls Royce funding that we were able to give the children this wonderful team-building opportunity.
Back in school each class continues to be busy collecting stamps for their space passports. Teachers have certainly been bitten by the ‘space bug’, which became very evident during World Space Week when we held Open Mornings for the parents. It was very encouraging to see the range of space-related tasks going on in each class and the enthusiastic comments from the parents.
Coinciding with WSW was the arrival of our 3d printers and scanner, which has caused much excitement among children and adults alike. We also learned that ESA is going to arrange for us to Skype Tim Peake whilst he is training in Russia next year, a major result for the school. We can now actually ask him what he would like us to print for him to take to the ISS!
Indeed, we now have our very own version of the ISS in school created by Mrs Woollam, our Reception teacher and Mrs Hulse. It’s a wonderful area for the children to go and read about space. Beware not to open up the airlock though!
Over the next few weeks our priority as a staff is to learn how to use the 3d technology, so that we can teach the children effectively. The hum of the printers can be heard most days, but we now need to be able to design our objects. Another objective will be to spread our enthusiasm and growing knowledge about space across a wider community. We have set up a new Twitter account and already have a number of eminent followers. https://twitter.com/OotW_UK