Why is space dark? And other questions….

26 November 2018

Last month, children from the Ogden Halesowen & Dudley Primary Partnership enjoyed an inspirational Space Day at the Phiz Lab at Our Lady & Saint Kenelm Primary.

The day began with a welcome meeting led by Ogden Consultant Dr Jenny Watson. The children were able to ask space-related questions and their enthusiasm and excitement for the day ahead was clear: Why is space dark? How big is the whole universe? How old do you have to be to be an astronaut?

On this particular day at least, age was no limit to the children’s ambitions as they became astronauts for the day – embarking on three space workshops which were out of this world.

Laura Marshall (Ogden Teacher Fellow and Phiz Lab lead) led a satellites workshop. The children learnt about the current satellites in space and what they are being used for. They looked at images of real satellites and talked about how important they are both to scientists and to people every-day around the world.

The children then got to create their own satellites with a junk modelling session that concluded the workshop. The children had to think about how their satellite should look and what they wanted it to do.

I want my satellite to track all of the marine mammals in the oceans, so we can see how many there are and where they like to live.

“The imagination and creativity of the children was fantastic,” says Laura. “The pupils were buzzing with excitement and had an amazing, fun time. The Lab was full of excited scientific discussions and questions.”

I liked making satellites because I like being creative in science.

Ogden Outreach Officer, Scott Walker from Keele University joined the day and took the pupils on a ‘journey’ into space. Students were able to enter a huge space dome in the school hall for a virtual visit to the solar system; they were wowed by the scale of the journey and how realistic it felt!

I loved the space dome because it actually felt like you were in space.

With the pupils enthused by this virtual tour, Dr Watson continued their astronaut training as the they considered just what the needs of astronauts would be and how they would survive in space. Students were able to use an electronic space arm, undertake spacecraft repairs and taste different ‘space’ food. The children also had to solve some challenging space puzzles whilst wearing big thick gloves to replicate a space suit!

I thought everything was fantastic.

“The pupils were truly amazing,” concludes Laura. “It was an astronomical experience and I am looking forward to our next workshop!”

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