Welcome to Space Station Meadowbrook!

Meadowbrook Primary school pupils with their very own Tim Peake! L-r: Steve Marling, Dax O’Conell, Kshirin Naveen Kumar, Maisie Shinton, Ruby Grimsted and Chloe Jones.

Pupils at Bradley Stoke’s Meadowbrook Primary School have been taking part in an exciting project which links in with UK astronaut Tim Peake’s six-month mission to the International Space Station (ISS).

The school has joined the Tim Peake Primary Project, organised by the UK Space Education Office, which aims to increase the engagement of primary school children with science, numeracy and literature.

It all began on 15th December 2015 when the whole school watched the launch. This was followed by a whole school ‘space term’ at Meadowbrook, which began with three fantastic shows by ‘Team Tim’. During the shows, pupils helped astronaut Tim Peake complete his daily space schedule. Children were involved in doing quick calculations, conducting science experiments, growing space plants, launching small satellites, and performing a thrilling space walk to fix an ageing electrical circuit. There was even a simulated “live” satellite link with the real Tim Peake.

Across the term, all Year groups really embedded the topic ‘space’ in their learning arcs by linking it with subjects such as English, Maths, Art, History, Geography and PE. Teachers chose books with a Science theme to inspire children to write. For example, ‘Zathura, George’s Secret Key to the Universe’ and ‘Cosmic’ were just some of the books chosen.

Pupils completed lots of writing exercises, for example Year 1 wrote about Wallis and Gromit’s trip to the moon and designed space suits for Tim Peake. Meanwhile, Year 3 wrote metaphor poems about the moon, Year 5 created newspaper articles about Tim Peake’s mission and Year 6 were busy completing their very own space diaries. Pupils also created a superb Art Attack creation of an astronaut on the school playground and some classes did ‘astro fit’ to experience how Tim Peake trains on the ISS.

There was a visit from Stephen Price from the British Astronomical Society during which children learnt about the solar system and looked at the sun with a real telescope. Bristol University students ran a workshop looking at life as an astronaut and children got to eat astronaut food! They even did an experiment on the shapes of different rockets. In Year 5 pupils made videos on how often and why eclipses happen.

The school was also visited by the mobile digital planetarium from Immersive Theatres – Bristol. Children had a 3D tour of the International Space Station and watched films about space exploration, aliens, moon phases, craters, the earth and stars.

Pupils are also taking part in a live science experiment to investigate the effect of microgravity on plant seeds. The ‘Rocket Science’ project involves growing seeds of salad leaf rocket (Eruca sativa) which were stored on the ISS for about six months before being returned to Earth. Meadowbrook has received some of these seeds and pupils are busy collecting real data which will be entered into a bespoke website so that results from schools across the nation can be collated and analysed by professional biostatisticians.

Jon Barr, headteacher at Meadowbrook, said:

“The rich aeronautical history of our local area makes Tim Peake’s time at the ISS a natural focus for our school. We believe immersing our children in science, technology and engineering will inspire girls and boys to make STEM subjects and careers part of their future.”

Photo: Pupils with their very own Tim Peake! L-r: Steve Marling, Dax O’Conell, Kshirin Naveen Kumar, Maisie Shinton, Ruby Grimsted and Chloe Jones.

Meadow brook Primary School pupils carrying out live research as part of the Rocket Science project.

Photo: Pupils carrying out live research as part of the Rocket Science project.

This article originally appeared in the June 2016 edition of the Bradley Stoke Journal news magazine, delivered FREE, EVERY MONTH, to 9,500 homes in Bradley Stoke, Little Stoke and Stoke Lodge. Phone 01454 300 400 to enquire about advertising or leaflet insertion.

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