Dormansland Primary School children are embarking on a voyage of discovery as, following their recent trip past Pluto on the New Horizons space probe, they are blasting off once again into the fascinating world of Space Exploration, this time as a team of space biologists.
On Tuesday 15th December at 11.02am, British Astronaut, Tim Peake, will be heading for the International Space Station on board a Russian Soyuz rocket. He will spend several months on board, possibly going on a space walk and definitely carrying out many experiments which should help us to understand more about space and life back on earth.
Of particular interest to the children at Dormansland Primary School are the rocket seeds, which will also be spending time on the International Space Station with Tim Peake. On his return to earth, the children will receive 100 of these seeds and grow them alongside 100 seeds which have not been up in space. They will measure the differences over seven weeks and report their findings back to the European Space Agency, as part of Rocket Science, an educational project launched by the RHS Campaign for School Gardening and the UK Space Agency.
The children won’t know which seed packet contains which seeds until all results have been collected by the RHS Campaign for School Gardening and analysed by professional biostatisticians.
The out-of-this-world, nationwide science experiment will enable us to think more about how we could preserve human life on another planet in the future, what astronauts need to survive long-term missions in space and the difficulties surrounding growing fresh food in challenging climates.
Jack in Year 5 said, “The Tim Peake Project is a great idea because we will be growing the seeds and learning about space at the same time. Things like this help us understand about space and other solar systems. I think it will be great!”
Rocket Science is just one of the many educational projects linked to Tim Peake’s Principia mission to the International Space Station. Children at Dormansland School will also be visited by a ‘Space Ambassador’ and find out a lot more about careers in STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) subjects, including horticulture.
The children have already demonstrated a keen interest in space exploration this summer, having been involved in a wide range of space topic work as the New Horizon’s Space Probe passed the dwarf planet Pluto after a 10 year journey.
Harry in Year 4 said, “What made the fly past of Pluto so special was that the space probe was carrying a disc with our school’s name on it”
Olivia in Year 1 said, “I liked learning about Pluto. It’s a dwarf planet.”
The International Space Station is visible from earth, on a clear night, and orbits every 90 minutes. On 15th December, Tim Peake’s Blast Off day, it should be directly over the SE of England from 17.13 until 17.16 passing from West to East.
For other pass times check the meteor watch website http://www.meteorwatch.org/
You can also follow the project on Twitter: @RHSSchools #RocketScience