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Tim Peake workshop teaches boys launching a space career isn’t all rocket scienceOctober 18th, 2016
A Tim Peake-inspired workshop, packed with exciting practical experiments, opened a group of schoolboys’ eyes to a world of possibilities in the space industry.
Prep III at The Grange, Monmouth Preparatory School, learnt of the challenges and perils faced by astronauts when Space Ambassador, Emma Wride, spent all of Monday involving them in creative hands-on activities and teaching them about Tim Peake.
From making Duct tape space suits for marshmallow rocketeers and testing their effectiveness in vacuums, to playing Jenga in gardening gloves, Workshop Mission X brought home the reality of zero gravity for the 9-year-olds.
Emma, STEM Communicator for ESERO (European Space Educational Resources Office), has been delivering the project in schools all over the UK for 18 months.
She said: “What Tim Peake has done for schools is amazing. They haven’t been this inspired since Neil Armstrong.
“We haven’t had kids wanting to be astronauts because they don’t believe they can really do it. I’m surrounded by professors and doctors but they don’t know how to talk to people.
“I do this to promote the fact we have a UK space agency; in fact, 80% of the world’s space glass is made in Wales. People think they couldn’t possibly work for a space agency without going to NASA, but there are endless opportunities here – we’re desperate for engineers, physicists, literally anything from communicators to astronauts.”
Emma was impressed with the 9-year-old Grange boys’ scientific ability and focus.
“Catching them at this age is so important,” She added.
“If I can inspire just one, who grows up to say ‘I’m an astronaut because Emma came to school one day’, it would make all the hard work worth it.”
As well as looking at moon maps and simulated Martian soil, the pupils used food colouring and water to learn how to recognise whether their urine is healthy or not.
They also made a volcano with baking powder and vinegar to bring Mars’ Olympus Mons to life – the largest volcano in the Solar System.
Grange pupil, Srinivas, said: “At the start of the day almost everyone wanted to be an astronaut, but by the end only two people wanted to do it because we learnt about the dangers. If you didn’t have your space suit on properly your insides would be on the outside!
“I’ve never wanted to be an astronaut but I’m very interested in space.
“We learnt about Mars and talked about whether there is life there.”
And George, also nine, said: “I was one of the two boys who still wanted to go into space after the workshop. I want to go to infinity and beyond, like Buzz Lightyear.
“Not many people have been before and I like the idea of being in a spaceship.
“It was a really exciting day – I loved all of it.”