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Space Academy Programme

by Guest Blogger: SarahH 1. September 2010 20:41

In July, 11 students who have chosen to study STEM subjects at KS5 from different Leicester City schools took part in an intensive 2 week event organised by the Space Academy programme in association with four partner organisations; EADS Astrium, RAF Henlow, Magna Parva and Infoterra. This inspiring experience gave these students an insight into the range of space based STEM careers available and the working lives of Space Scientists, as well as to help them improve key skills and qualities needed for future STEM careers.

At the National Space Centre participants attended a careers event where they had the opportunity to find out more about some of UK’s top space science and engineering companies and gain perspective on the true scale of the space industry within the UK.  They took part in a hands on curriculum focused space science masterclass, saw a comet nucleus made as they learnt about Near Earth Objects (comets/asteroids with the potential to impact Earth at some future date) and worked with the Education team and Creative Services team at the National Space Centre to gain an insight into their careers.  They also took part in a workshop on presentation skills where they experienced what it is like presenting a video conference and gained an invaluable insight into the importance of pitching presentations to the right level.

  

At Magna Parva a session was held with several engineers detailing what is involved in a space engineering role.  Infoterra showed the application and interpretation of satellite data through the medium of several hands on computer activities.  EADS Astrium provided a hands on space materials workshop as well as a tour of the facility and a behind the scenes look in their Mars Yard facility.  This afforded an opportunity to meet ‘Bruno’, one of the ExoMars test rovers and to ask questions of Paul Meacham one of the engineers working on the project.  Finally RAF Henlow (the UK’s Centre for Aviation Medicine) gave an insight into the physiological effects of high altitude, low pressure flying on the human body and the analogies this has to space travel. The experience was rounded off with participants presenting their projects to an audience of National Space Centre Employees, members of the Space Academy Partner organisations and academic staff from the Space Research Centre at the University of Leicester.  The students were amazing, impressing everyone there with their maturity, professionalism and enthusiasm, and the experience really helped to focus their ideas with regards to entering various STEM careers.

 

 

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National STEM Centre e-Library

by Guest Blogger: CathyB 1. September 2010 20:27

 The National STEM Centre’s e-Library resource bank is now live, with an extremely impressive collection of resources aimed at teachers of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.  The key focus of the e-Library is resources rather than activities or person-support. It complements the existing STEM Directories STEM Directories  which comprise a collection of schemes and activities provided by organisations from across the UK that aim to enhance and enrich the curriculum.

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Space Academy Roadshows

by Guest Blogger: SarahH 1. September 2010 20:14

 

During July the Space Academy ran two ‘Roadshow’ events with schools from Derby City and Wellingborough in Northamptonshire.  The three day event saw students participate in a physics masterclass where they learnt how physics is applied and used in space science, including rocket launch velocities and the effect of gravity.  The culmination of the masterclass is the construction of a comet nucleus using a number of ingredients including dry ice and water which helps to illustrate the threat comets may have when impacting a planet or that they may have been responsible for bring life to planets.

 

 

The second day allowed students to explore the National Space Centre galleries, experience ‘We Are Astronomers’, a full dome planetarium show and take part in a Challenger Mission.  A Challenger Mission is a simulated space mission where students take the role of mission controllers and astronauts on a space craft to complete a mission to launch a probe to a moon of Mars.  The mission was made more challenging through the introduction of various emergencies, from high humidity levels to a failing oxygen supply.  The students needed to response to these emergencies finding solution and showing immense team work and communication skills to ensure that the primary mission objectives were completed.On the final day the students got to experience indoor skydiving at the Airkix vertical wind tunnel.  This a real challenge which all students leapt at (some literally!) and successfully completed by understanding basic aerodynamics.  A Roadshow participant said “there is nothing I did not like about the trip, everything was cool and I need to do something similar again”

 

 

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The views expressed in this Blog are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the positions or policies of the East Midlands STEM Partnership, its partners or funders, including East Midlands Development Agency.

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