Vickie Faulkner – Science Technician, team leader for the project.

This month we were able to expand our space theme to all our Year 7, and Year 5/6 from Llanfair Primary School by hosting workshops run by Techniquest Glyndwr who visited us on November 21.

We were able to offer three activities for all the pupils.

The Stardome: An inflatable planetarium. Pupils had the opportunity to take a virtual guided tour of the solar system.

“Mars mission madness”: A workshop that challenged the pupils to make a craft that would safely land on Mars. The workshop encouraged the pupils to use their communication and design skills as they worked in small groups to develop and test a landing craft, using materials of their choice. There was lots of enthusiasm and fun as they built their craft and tested it using raw eggs as their precious cargo. Although there were a few cracks, there was surprisingly little raw egg carnage, a tribute to the well thought out designs by the students.

Destination space: Pupils found out about what it was like to go into space and the related challenges such as the forces that were involved in sending a rocket, what effect space has on the body and how to survive in space. The workshop was linked to Tim Peake’s trip to the International Space Station, the topic led to lively questions and discussions as the pupils were fascinated by what effect space had on the human body. There were some very exciting demonstrations including the methylated spirit rocket, and they had the opportunity to work in groups to investigate the water absorbing qualities of various materials, linked to understanding how water is purified for reuse in space.

I have met with a representative from ERW this month. ERW is an alliance of six Welsh local authorities who deliver school improvement. We discussed how the competition fits in with the new curriculum, and how we would develop the weather balloon project using Donaldson principles.

It has been decided to arrange a meeting with the school’s Heads of Department to see how the project could move outside the science department and include the whole school.
http://www.erw.wales/about-us/erw-aims-and-values/
https://beta.gov.wales/sites/default/files/publications/2018-03/succesful-futures-a-summary-of-professor-graham-donaldsons-report.pdf

Year 7 in the “Destination Space” workshop, making a safe landing craft for their egg
Year 7 in the “Destination Space” workshop, making a safe landing craft for their egg