Want to get kids excited by science? Then teach them about space, says leading space doctor
If you want to get primary-aged children interested in science, then you need to embrace your inner astronaut, according to Dr Kevin Fong, an expert in space medicine.
Fong is delivering this year’s Christmas Lectures from the Royal Institution, delving into a range of issues about human spaceflight, from rockets and space stations to how to protect humans on their journey into the final frontier. In the 11 December issue of TES, he argues that the topic of space is something all children will engage with.
“Space is integral to teaching science,” he says. "Part of the appeal is the excitement of space being the final frontier…it satisfies the human desire to explore and learn. Space, and in particular human space exploration, is an ideal topic to use to capture young students' attention and explore key scientific concepts."
In his article, he discusses exciting ways teachers can integrate space into science, and why it’s important to do so. Among the examples are lessons on astronaut nappies, mission control teamwork tasks, a mind-bending engineering demonstration on energy conservation, plus an activity to design an Earth flag for the first colonists to Mars. There is also the experiment below in which students can create a rocket.
The article comes at an exciting time for British space science as Tim Peake prepares to rocket into space to begin a six-month mission on the International Space Station.
Early next year, TES will be running a live lesson with Peake, beamed from the International Space Station. He will broadcast to schools across the UK. To take part in the world’s largest school and space science event visit: www.tes.com/cosmicclassroom