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Science - One giant leap

NASA experts spoke to around 200 pupils in Aberdeen last week about the wonders of space exploration.

The "space day" at Torry Academy marked the end of Designing Transformations, a nine-month trial project funded by Skills Development Scotland. It used the theme of space to motivate the S1s, as well as P7s from nearby schools, into thinking about careers.

NASA was represented by astronaut Bill McArthur and geologist and science educator Stephanie Stockman. Talks and activities had intriguing titles such as Alien Dining, Stories of Water, Time Capsules, and Remote Exploration using a Mars Rover.

Mairi Rule, development and trials officer at Skills Development Scotland, said: "A project such as this offers fantastic ways to get young people interested in science, engineering and technology - but it also widens their horizons and demonstrates what careers are within their reach if they commit to learning."

The trial has involved Robert Gordon University, Gray's School of Art, Aberdeen City Council and the Scottish Space School.

Sue Fairburn, a design researcher at Robert Gordon University, said: "We want (pupils) to emerge from the day with a pocketful of questions, not just about space, but about what they experienced, who they spoke with, and how it all comes together.

"Space inspires not just astronomers, astronauts and engineers, but also artists, chemists, journalists, theologians, lawyers, economists, photographers and teachers."

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