Astro Science Challenge set to be a blast

The Unlimited Space Agency launches interactive science project for children interested in STEM

The Unlimited Space Agency (UNSA) has teamed up with some of the UK’s biggest space and science organisations to create a free, six-week interactive science project running throughout the autumn term for children aged seven to 11.

The Astro Science Challenge is set to coincide with British European Space Agency astronaut and patron of UNSA, Tim Peake’s mission to the International Space Station (ISS). The six-week project, taking place between October-December 2015, is free to all UK schools, home educators and families with children interested in STEM subjects. 

The adventure consists of six themed missions, each one co-designed with UNSA’s partners, including the Met Office, the Science Museum and the UK Space Agency. Each interactive adventure is comprised of three sessions per week, which will specifically focus on either science, English or maths. The challenges will directly reference real science that Tim is carrying out on the ISS, including space weather, astronomy, human spaceflight, coding, humanities and nutrition. 

Teachers will be sent curriculum-linked lesson plans and details to set up their class on Makewaves, an educational social networking platform. Through storytelling and game design, the challenges will be announced each week via an online video and children will be encouraged to complete the activities in any format, and upload their work and findings. Teachers are able to award badges and prizes to those who successfully complete each mission. 

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We want to be able to inspire younger children and help train the next generation of scientists and space explorers and, most importantly, to have fun learning.” 

Jon Spooner, director of human spaceflight operations at UNSA said: “Space travel is exciting, no matter what age you are, and there are so many educational angles to Tim’s mission that this project seemed a natural next step for us and the partners. We all wanted to use this massive adventure to boost engagement in core subjects and give teachers and pupils a free way of sharing in the excitement. It was also important that we created a project that encompassed all kinds of talents and encouraged self-driven learning – everyone can join in! We want to be able to inspire younger children and help train the next generation of scientists and space explorers and, most importantly, to have fun learning.” 

The project will conclude in December at the Astro Science Challenge graduation ceremony, where the children will be congratulated for transitioning from cadets to agents.

Tim added: “The Unlimited Space Agency is great, and their enthusiasm for this is truly infectious. Their approach to inspiring children is rigorous, fun and it works! I’m proud to serve with them on their mission to inspire the next generation of scientists and space explorers.” 

Over 600 schools have already joined the science adventure. To sign up or for more information, visit: www.astrosciencechallenge.com

Photo: ESA 

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