Infinity + Beyond!
Students: 400 pupils
Teacher: Ms Helen Davis
Scientist: Ms Christine Brockley-Blatt, Mechanical and Thermal Engineer, Mullard Space Science Laboratory
Davison School pupils explored technology used to understand the universe – from sensors and satellites to telescopes and roving devices - with some help from scientists at Marsden Space Science Laboratories.
Pupils in Year 10 visited the Marsden Space Science laboratories (MSSL) in Dorking, and after having demonstrations and tours of their clean rooms, they set to work designing and creating can satellites. A CanSat is a simulation of a real satellite, integrated into the shape and volume of a regular soft drink can. The challenge for students is to fit all subsystems such as power, communications and sensors in to a 350 ml can. After launch from a rocket or a captive balloon up to 5 km in to the sky the CanSat has to perform a certain mission and land safely on the ground. Students discussed the best methods to measure and record environmental issues affecting Earth; for example carbon dioxide levels, infra-red, gamma radiation and sulphur dioxide in the atmosphere. They were also able to explore the range of devices utilised to track satellites and transmit data readings whilst in flight. Students learned how science and creativity are both essential components of research and development work.
Back at school, Year 11 students studying BTEC science took pictures using the Faulkes telescopes in Hawaii and Australia of stars, galaxies, black holes and other planetary objects. This increased their understanding and helped them complete the Space assignment.
Primary school students were also able to take pictures using the telescopes too and were able to participate in rocket building and launching investigations. Finally the two Space days were carried out in July involving all our partners and 321 students in an exciting carousel of Design technology and Science workshops exploring Space and rockets. Pupils made LUSH bath ballistics, fuel and water rockets, LED t-shirts, jewellery and flight meals!
I really enjoyed working with the Space scientists even if I didn’t always understand everything they said!
The project was a great success. Students attitudes were surveyed before and after the project, and there was widespread agreement that they had improved their scientific knowledge and understanding, and they had enjoyed working alongside scientists. Christine Brockley- Blatt was a fantastic female role model for students. She gave her time; energy and enthusiasm to ensure all their needs were met and introduced teachers to a whole host of other individuals in the community who could help them. Students benefited from seeing what long term projects involved – in a culture of instant reward, everyone learnt that many of these Space endeavours are a lifetime’s achievement and beyond! The partnership will continue, and some students will go on to take part in work experience placements at the MSSL.