Keswick School aims for the star

Space provided an exciting focus for Year 7 pupils at Keswick this week. As part of a day of workshops on the theme of “The Universe” students launched rockets, studied of the night sky in an inflatable planetarium, calculated the scale of the solar system and handled rare samples of moon rocks and a collection of impressive meteorites.

Highlights included getting up close and personal with some hand-sized meteorites, enabling students to touch a real piece of space. Included in the educational pack provided by the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) is a 1.2 billion year old piece of Mars and a 4.3 billion year old nickel meteorite – the oldest object the students will ever handle! Our solar system is only 4.6 billion years old.

The lunar samples were collected in the late 1960s and early 1970s during some of NASA’s first manned missions to the Moon.  Small quantities are used to develop lunar and planetary sciences educational packages like this one.  

STFC’s Chief Executive Officer, Professor John Womersley said “this is a great opportunity for young people to be able to see, touch and really experience such important and exciting messengers from space - turning science fiction into science fact.  It’s an unforgettable experience to be able to hold such an important part of science history that has made such an incredible journey over millions of miles to reach us - and one we hope will inspire the scientists of the future!”

The students also visited the Astrosphere, a mobile planetarium, where they were immersed in a space show presented by astronomer Steve Ibbotson. 

Working with the Physics Department, students made and then launched air, water and chemical rockets into the sky above the school, all successfully landing in the target area!

David Pratt, Head of Science at Keswick said “This was an inspiring day, and having the lunar rocks this year added an extra dimension to the student’s experience”

The two photos attached show students launching a chemical rocket and studying the lunar rocks sample.