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Heaton Manor pupils join the space age

Space will not be the final frontier for Heaton Manor pupils next Wednesday, 21 May when they launch their plans for space rockets, space suits and an actual model space station to attract potential investors.

The 60 11 and 12 year old pupils have been working on this science mission over the last 14 weeks and have divided into teams tackling different space age tasks as part of Newcastle Science City’s education programme to encourage more pupils to study science. 

They had to carefully analyse mock samples from a space probe, design the space base building including energy production, wiring and materials and plan a sustainable Biodome where plants and animals can provide food for human settlers.

Their test of ingenuity and scientific expertise also includes designing an astronaut’s space suit and a rocket to travel at the high speeds necessary to blast their way to the project’s new planet as well as analysis of a new planet.  The judge of the best project will be the pupils’ parents who have been invited to the conference on 21 May as potential investors, to judge which project is worth investing some of their  ‘Heaton Manor School £10m pound’ cheque.

Richard Faraday and Nicola McCoy from Heaton Manor Science department have organised the  space conference.  Richard said: “Everyone has had great fun with this different approach to their lessons and they have all found it thought-provoking.  I hope the parents will also get something out of the project and it will, in turn, make them think about science in a different way.”

Sarah Stewart, director, Newcastle Science City said: “This is a perfect example of how imagination and strong teaching skills can transform sciences such as physics into interesting and exciting subjects.   I am delighted this project has proved to be so popular with all of the pupils and can’t wait to hear what the winning entry looks like.  Who knows maybe their rocket might go into space one day!”

As part of the project the pupils had to compare the imaginary planet’s surface pressure, temperature, gravity and the tilt of its axis as well as the time it takes to turn on its axis compared to earth.  They also had to calculate the time it took both planets to orbit the sun and how big the planet was and consider all of these factors when preparing their final designs.

Pupils have prepared audio visual demonstrations, models and demonstrations of experiments as well as the space stations itself.

Anne Davies, Newcastle Science Consultant said, ‘This is part of a new year 7 curriculum that Richard is leading on in the city. The new modules will be rolled out in a number of schools involved in the science city project. Other exciting modules include one on Forensics science that has involved the Crown Prosecution Service.
As well as being motivating the new curriculum shows how science careers are interesting and well paid.’

Dated: 16/05/2008

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