EU-UNAWE UK National Project Manager, Libby McKearney was invited by ESERO-UK to present at the new “Enriching the Primary Curriculum using Space and Astronomy” Course at the National Science Learning Centre (NSLC) York, England on 12 Feb 2013.
This was a 2-day course for UK Primary School teachers, with 15 teachers participating. Bob Kibble and Laura Thomas from ESERO were also presenting and taking part. UNAWE activities were presented to help with the understanding of space topics.
Rachel Jackson, Primary Specialist, National STEM Centre writes: Space provides limitless opportunities to inspire and engage primary children. Open up the wonders of the solar system and answer those challenging questions and discuss the big ideas about space.
Participate in scientific enquiry set in the context of current space exploration, observe the night sky (weather permitting), engage in a range of activities to extend children’s knowledge and understanding of our solar system, and look at cross-curricular links with numeracy and literacy.
Who remembers being allowed to watch The Sky at Night presented by the late but much loved character, Sir Patrick Moore? He inspired many to look into the stars and gaze at their wonders whilst managing to reply to every letter aspiring astronomers sent to him. Professor Brian Cox and Dara O Briain make space and astronomy seem to be as popular as ever. Funnily, one of the most popular resources on display on the ESERO-UK gallery in the National STEM Centre is a knitted solar system! The National Science Learning Centre is running a course, with, on how to enrich the primary curriculum through space and astronomy on the 12 February 2013. It is designed to refresh subject knowledge and give ideas on teaching tricky concepts through practical enquiry whilst looking at interesting ways of engaging children through the topic of space. Space is an area of the primary curriculum which can be used in a cross curricular way to engage and stimulate even the most reluctant of learners.
The new primary curriculum includes a section on learning science biographies, for example Nicholas Copernicus, Galileo Galilei and Neil Armstrong, which could be included when teaching non-fiction texts. Scientifically space and astronomy are fascinating and levelling to us mere mortals. There is a rich history of literature linked to space. As teachers we try to narrow gaps in attainment and encourage more boys to write, so why not use space as a context to drive literacy, and more importantly, enjoyment of all learners?