The International Space Mission – Inspired Learning, Together
I cannot profess to know much about space travel. But it has excited me over the last month in ways I didn’t know it could.
For those that have (literally!) been living on another planet the last month or so, Major Tim Peake is officially the first 100% British professional astronaut to leave the Earth. The 43-year-old left his home in Chichester, West Sussex and lifted off at 11.03am (GMT) on December 15 from Kazakhstan. Alongside him was Nasa astronaut Tim Kopra and Russian commander Yuri Malenchenko, the other two crew members manning the Principia space mission.
The space station project’s primary purpose is to develop the capability to live and work in space. Its construction is arguably one of the greatest feats of engineering and international collaboration in human history. It paves the way for the construction of more complex structures in space, a permanent presence on the Moon, and missions to Mars and beyond.
There has been much hype about the mission, obviously because Major Peake is British – with a great moment being the walk of the Union Jack flag out into space for the first time – but also because of the way he has been communicating with us here on Earth. Tim Peake says he wants education to be a legacy of his mission, and it really does feel like we can learn a lot and inspire our students with his help from outer space!
Tim has been using time when he is off duty (usually Saturday afternoons) to broadcast to those interested in his mission. He has said on many occasions that he is really keen on using his time there as an opportunity to educate and inspire people about science and the wonders of space travel.
During his time away from Earth he will consume a meal designed by children to eat in orbit, and he’ll grow seeds on the ISS to compare with plants grown by schools back home. There will also be a fitness challenge, and a competition for five-to-19-year-olds to make a short film about space and exploration, which Tim Peake will get to watch.
He has also been giving interviews and using Twitter to share his experiences.
There are lots of activities that students and schools can get involved in relating to the mission, regardless of which subject they are studying. Some great inspiration can be found here on this website: https://www.stem.org.uk/esero/tim-peake .
Some great Primary resources can be found here: https://www.stem.org.uk/audience/primary#section–resources
The project we find most interesting at Serif Education is “The Great British Space Dinner”. https://www.stem.org.uk/elibrary/resource/36332/the-great-british-space-dinner-secondary-resource
The Great British Space Dinner incorporates a series of 9 lessons which encourage children to explore space in a creative way. This includes developing a brochure about the International Space Station (ISS), conducting research using video resources, and designing and building a model of a zero-gravity exercise machine. All of these projects can be designed using the Serif Design Suite, and help to fit the computing curriculum. Perhaps you could even send a Tweet to the man himself with all your student’s ideas once complete? We would sure like to see them!
What an incredible inspiration to all of our children.