Inspiring students around space for British Science Week

Nafeesa Dajda
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Dr Nafeesa Dajda, Head of Knowledge Exchange, Satellite Applications Catapult, explains how the Catapult is supporting British Science Week (10-19 March 2017) by showcasing space to school pupils.

Communicating with Space dayAs part of our commitment to raising the profile of the space and satellite sectors to multiple audience, we have an ongoing education programme of events specifically designed to engage with schools. This aims to provide young people with the knowledge, tools and skills they require to realise their ambitions for careers in the growing space sector. After all, the UK government estimates that there will be 100,000 space sector-related jobs available in the UK by 2030!

This programme is supported by 18 members of the Catapult staff who are trained as STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Maths) Ambassadors, delivering space-related talks and activities in schools.

The latest of our schools engagement initiatives coincided with British Science Week. More than 40 students from Nova Hreod Academy, Thomas Deacon Academy, Bedford School, and Winchcombe School visited the Catapult on Friday 10 March for our ‘Communicating with Space day’ as part of British Science Week.

Communicating with Space dayThe day provided an opportunity for the students to get an introduction to space and satellites, and learn about some of the technology that impact our daily lives. This included a hands-on activity getting to grips with our UBO microsatellite, as well as learning about space rovers and robotics from the RAL Space Robotics Team.

The feedback from pupils and teachers alike was very positive, with one s
tudent saying “I love it! It was really fascinating and educational,” while two of the teachers described the day as “brilliant” and “fantastic”.

Welcoming so many young people to the Catapult provided a fantastic opportunity to engage with them directly and really enthuse them about how satellites and space positively affect our lives. Hopefully this exposure will inspire them to want to learn more about the industry and maybe even choose a related career.

A second initiative as part of British Science Week involved the Catapult visiting Chandlings School today to engage with nearly 50 Year 1 children about space and satellites. It involved building a solar system from fruit, looking at the distance between the Earth and the moon, and guessing where satellites (including the ISS) were in orbit.