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Zoom zoom zoom – we’re off beyond the Moon

Published: 26 November 2020

Last week, more than 500 Year 5 pupils and 20 teachers from the new Ogden Trust Nuneaton & Bedworth Partnership took part in an ambitious space mission led by their Ogden Regional Representative, Dr Jenny Watson.

Although the space workshop was held online, Jenny curated an afternoon of interactive space science for the 20 classes taking part. Pupils had an opportunity to ask questions about stars, aliens, black holes and astronauts, and make and evaluate simple models of the solar system. Each child could take their own solar system home to share their learning with their family.

Before the workshop, each class had been sent their mission supplies: till rolls, stickers, playdough and post-it notes for the children’s space questions. The workshop started with Jenny answering those questions and pupils discussing what they already knew about planets.

This was followed by Jenny showing the pupils how to create their own till-roll solar system model. (You can find the instructions on the Ogden resources page). The children then evaluated their models with their talk partners, discussing what was, and was not, realistic about it and how the model could be improved.

A pupil from each class was then selected by their teacher as a volunteer demonstrator to carry out a playdough planets activity in front of their peers. They recreated a scale model of the planets (you can find instruction for this practical on the Ogden resource pages) using some dextrous cutting and maths to make Mercury – the smallest of the planets in our solar system!

The workshop concluded with more questions and answers, and the children writing what they had learnt in their science books.

“The children asked some really good questions, and it is clear from feedback that they relished the change from their ‘new normal’ class teaching,” says Jenny. “They enjoyed being able to explore deeper science and to carry out inspiring and effective hands-on activities.”

“Although this was my first time teaching one of my normally very hands-on workshops to multiple classes online (a ‘sea of black boxes’ on Zoom, instead of smiling faces), it went well, and I would encourage other presenters to do it!”

“In the mission resources pack, I included laminated instructions for the activities and ideas for extension work. This was in case of technical issues and so teachers can carry on the workshop’s learning in their own lessons and repeat the activities themselves in future years.”

“I have had some really positive feedback,” concludes Jenny. “I can’t wait to repeat this for my other Ogden partnerships and to develop future interactive online science workshops to inspire more children and share my passion for physics, particularly in these tricky times!”

‘Thanks so much for running the workshop last Friday – by all accounts my school loved it!’
Nuneaton & Bedworth Partnership Co-ordinator

Thank you – it has been brilliant
Class feedback

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