Tag Archives: space project

Meeting Eileen Marie Collins in Pontefract.

When presented with the opportunity to attend a lecture by Eileen Collins in conjunction with Space Lectures how could I refuse? Eileen was the first woman to both pilot and command a US space shuttle and I couldn’t wait to hear more about her experiences in this male-dominated environment.

We arrived at Carleton Community High School in Pontefract and immediately were surrounded by ‘space’! The entrance area was awash with pin badges, postcards, books, photos and even a little boy in a full NASA boiler suit. There was a buzz of excitement in the air and it was evident that the space enthusiasts in the audience couldn’t wait to meet Colonel Collins!

Eileen Collins

Eileen was introduced and stood in front of a backdrop of herself in full astronaut gear – a sight to behold! For those of you who don’t know, having previously been a pilot in the U.S Air Force,  in 1995 Eileen became the first woman to pilot a space shuttle – the space shuttle is a manned spacecraft that has a has a particular job (mission) to carry out – the aim of this mission was to retrieve a astronomy satellite, she then became the first woman to command a space shuttle in 1999. In 2005, she commanded the first space shuttle since the Columbia disaster in 2003 in which all seven astronauts were killed, a feat which must have taken great courage. The aim of this mission was to test out new safety measures and repair techniques in the hope that this could prevent further disasters.

This mission in 2005 lasted 14 days and most of this time was spent docked at the International Space Station (ISS) where the American astronauts met their Russian counterparts who were extremely pleased to see them, especially as they arrived with supplies of coffee amongst other things! She showed us amazing video footage of the shuttle docking at the ISS and some of the tasks that were undertaken. I was in awe of the bravery of these astronauts making their space walks. She also showed us some pictures taken by members of her crew; these included photos of the Himalayas, the Suez Canal, New York and the Southern lights! The astronauts definitely get to see a very different view of the world from space!

Eileen Collins Lecture

Eileen also talked in detail about her involvement in each of these missions and how she made the transition from pilot to commander – a role that she described as requiring her to be open and humble, not traits you would always associate with a leader!  She also offered some very good advice to all you budding astronauts out there – make sure you study hard at Maths and Science!!

Eileen finished her talk with mention of the future – she thinks that the ISS could be used for tourists to visit. I wonder how long the waiting list would be for people wanting to visit and look down on our wonderful planet?

After the talk had finished Eileen signed photographs and other memorabilia and as we waited until the end we were lucky enough to spend five minutes talking to her. Mrs Pheasey showed Eileen the work that has been done by all the pupils at Rode Heath Primary School and I think that she was more than impressed with the space passports, the 3d printing and all the other activities that have taken place this year. She was also very interested in the Google hangout with Tim Peake and said that she knew lots of children who would be very excited about doing something like that.

All in all, I have to say that the day was OUT OF THIS WORLD!! @OotW_UK

Signed Picture


Space Assembly and first meeting with our Rolls-Royce mentor

Following World Space Week, I thought it would be a good idea for all the classes to share the activities they have been carrying out towards our own space project.

I tasked the Year 5s with producing a PowerPoint to introduce the assembly, suggesting that they explain the rationale behind WSW and then talked about what they had been doing to celebrate the largest space event on Earth. Helena took up the mantle and did a fantastic job. I had coached very briefly in the art of presenting and she had listened well: no reading off slides and just using the short bullet points she had made to remind her of what she wanted to say.

Year 5 showed a selection of the mini International Space Stations they had made last week with Mrs Malam and shared some facts that they had learned. Frankie read her excellent poem describing what it is like to take off in the Soyuz rocket and Izzy explained how she had made her 3d constellation of the Plough with Mrs Hesketh.

Year 6 followed with some inspired poetry and an informative biography of Tim Peake, whilst Oliver baffled everyone with his PowerPoint on solar energy. You will be able to read the poetry on the Out of This World website shortly. Year 4 demonstrated how maths is related to our space project by demonstrating, using a pie-chart, how an astronaut’s day on the ISS is divided up.

The Year 3 children were very entertaining. They had been investigating spacecraft and had built their own shock absorbing system to protect two marshmallow astronauts when they landed. The assembly was a chance for them to test their designs in front of a large audience. For the design to be successful, it had to prevent the astronauts from bouncing out of the cup and not tip over. After a countdown from Mr Randall all the landers were dropped from about two feet. Whilst a couple tipped over and the astronauts fell out, the majority allowed their astronauts to land gently. Well done Year 3.

Key Stage 1 were not to be outdone and again their work had a predominantly maths theme with Years 2 and 1 using tangrams to produce a picture of a rocket. Year 2 also produced some excellent shape poetry and acrostics. Finally, Reception showed us how they had used rockets to write numbers and count stars. It was an excellent set of work by all and demonstrated how space could be used successfully throughout the curriculum. Judging by the quality of the work, the children were also really engaging with what they were doing.

On Tuesday we met our Rolls-Royce mentor, Henry Simkin, for the first time. I spent 45 minutes giving him an overview of our project and showing how we have already spent our money in purchasing the 3d technology. He seemed to be suitably impressed by what we had achieved in a relatively short time and how organised we were. During a meeting with the team, he made some very useful suggestions, which has resulted in us setting up a new Twitter account @OofW_UK – thanks to Mrs Pheasey – to promote ourselves more widely and transferring our blog to WordPress. We now have the beginnings of a website devoted to our project: https://outofthisworldproject.com/

Later on in the week, having retweeted some 300 tweets, we received a #ff tweet from Libby Jackson, which I believe means that we are worth following. I wonder how many followers we will have by the end of next week . . .

Libby Jackson tweet