[Press and Public Relations] Scientists Bring Space into the Classroom



January 2002

No 1

Have you ever searched for water on the moon?  Or measured the depth of a Martian crater?  Classroom Space is an innovative project from space scientists at the University of Leicester that will provide school children across the UK with the opportunity to tackle these and other exciting challenges.  Classroom Space is being launched at the Association of Science Education (ASE) annual meeting in Liverpool on January 3rd.

A ready made resource for teachers, Classroom Space provides all the necessary materials to teach key areas of the National Curriculum using exciting new examples.  By bringing data and issues from real space missions in to schools, it will use pupils' enthusiasm for space science and astronomy to address declining interest generally in science subjects. All the classroom materials use real data from space missions that have studied Mars, the Moon or our own planet, the Earth. The user friendly materials and comprehensive background notes will offer immediate support to science teachers who are under severe time restraints to prepare materials.

Classroom Space is aimed at the 11 - 16 age range and all the material is relevant to the Science National Curriculum, with some applications within the Maths, Geography and ICT Curricula.  All materials have been tested and refined with the help of practising teachers in schools across the UK.

Karen McAtamney, St Mary's Christian Brothers Grammar School, Belfast said "I have worked through 3 of the projects with my classes and they REALLY enjoyed them!  They are excellent and I am hoping to incorporate them into the scheme of work for some literacy and numeracy if possible."

Richard Eason, Castle Hall School, West Yorkshire said "The idea is great - self-contained activities with real space data.  And the fact that students actually use the computers as a tool to solve problems, rather than just flicking through a CD-Rom is good."

Each topic contains worksheets and suggested experiments and activities as well as teacher's notes.  Project Leader, Dr Martin Barstow of the University of Leicester said "We want to help revitalise science education by finding exciting ways of presenting the curriculum."

Classroom Space is funded by a grant from the Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC), through its National Awards Scheme. A second PPARC grant has been confirmed to fund Classroom Space for an additional 2 years (to 2004) and extend the materials for use at post-16.

Classroom Space materials are available to download free of charge from the project website - www.classroomspace.org.uk, where teachers can search for activities under subject headings or by looking at the areas of the National Curriculum they wish to teach.  The website will go online at the ASE meeting in Liverpool, and in the following months teachers will be made aware of the project via various training events across the country.  Classroom Space is a branded Science Year project.

Note to Editors                                                                                                                                      The January 2000 report 'Pupils' & Parents' Views of the School Science Curriculum' by Drs Osborne and Collins of King's College London for the Wellcome Trust, found that 'The one topic (amongst the sciences) that generated universal enthusiasm was any study of astronomy and space'.

Sarah Verbickas will be presenting Classroom Space to teachers at the ASE at 9.30 on January 3rd, 2002.

Contacts: 

Dr Martin Barstow - Classroom Space Project Leader , Department of Physics and Astronomy,  University of Leicester , University Road , Leicester LE1 7RH (telephone 0116 252 3492, home 0116 286 2330, fax 0116 252 3311 , email mab@star.le.ac.uk

Sarah Verbickas - Classroom Space Project Officer , National Space Centre, Exploration Drive, Leicester LE4 5NS (telephone 0116 261 0261).

The Association of Science Education is the national meeting of UK science teachers. Journalists wishing to know more about this year's conference at the University of Liverpool should contact:

Janet Martin - Press Office , (telephone 0151 707 1187 , fax 0151 794 2260 , email j.martin@livjm.ac.uk)

Julia Maddock - PPARC Press Office , Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (telephone +44 (0)1793 442094 , email julia.maddock@pparc.ac.uk).

The Particle Physics and Astronomy Research Council (PPARC) is the UK's strategic science investment agency. It funds research, education and public understanding in four broad areas of science - particle physics, astronomy, cosmology and space science.

PPARC is government funded and provides research grants and studentships to scientists in British universities, gives researchers access to world-class facilities and funds the UK membership of international bodies such as the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, CERN, and the European Space Agency. It also contributes money for the UK telescopes overseas on La Palma, Hawaii, Australia and in Chile, the UK Astronomy Technology Centre at the Royal Observatory, Edinburgh and the MERLIN/VLBI National Facility.

PPARC's Public Understanding of Science and Technology Awards Scheme provides funding to both small local projects and national initiatives aimed at improving public understanding of its areas of science.

 


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Last updated: 29 January 2002 15:30
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