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From outer space to the Hillcroft class room

Pupils will be reaching for the stars after the school’s recent space week learning programme.

The themed lessons were part of a nationwide learning initiative in the build-up to British astronaut Tim Peake joining the International Space Station, and saw the children learn about all aspects of space travel and lunar exploration – and they even had an opportunity to handle some moon rock and meteorites.

“The topic of space is something that always appeals to children, so to have the opportunity to link it to something they’re going to be able to follow, like the International Space Station mission, was great,” said Hillcroft’s science leader, Tom Holloway.

“We had a visitor from the Spacefund charity, who did assemblies for Key Stages 1 and 2 about Tim’s mission, and what life would be like on the Space Station, and then Years Five and Six turned the School Hall into the Space Station for a day, with the younger children taking part in exercises to imagine what life is like in space.

“The week ended with another couple of inspirational assemblies from Blast Science, who focused on wider issues about the challenges of life in zero gravity, and the lay-out of the solar system."

To emphasise the importance of wider knowledge and learning, the space project was incorporated into other aspects of the curriculum besides science. “The children learnt all about the thinking behind the mission, and came up with their own mission names and  badges, and we also looked at how aspects of technology invented for space missions – like controlling joysticks – have everyday applications, like on games consoles,” Mr Holloway explained,

“From my point of view, the most thrilling part was that the children could actually get their hands on rocks that came from the far reaches of the solar system – that brings home the message of what they’re studying far more effectively than anything else you can offer! When Tim Peake’s mission begins later this month, they will know all about it and relate to it because of what they’ve been able to do here, and as a teacher, that’s a great thought to have.”