whoosh bottle megaclassThe summer term was a whirlwind of activity for the core team of the National Space Academy, with both Anu Ojha and Sophie Allan involved in teaching and presenting in the UK and Europe.  Lead Educators continued to deliver inspiring masterclasses in their regions as well as at the National Space Centre.  In addition to this the Academy presented and exhibited at the British Science Association's Science Communication Conference in London and the UK Space Conference in Glasgow, building stronger links with educators and industry.

As well as working with individual schools and teachers, the National Space Academy took part in the Big Bang South West at the end of June, with Anu Ojha leading two classes each of nearly 500 students aged 12-18, in what would appear to be the largest practical science class to have ever taken place in the UK.  With the help of 20 volunteers to make sure the practicals went smoothly (see picture above), Anu gave the students a whistle-stop introduction to space science including rocketry, human space exploration and near Earth objects (NEOs).  The atmosphere in the classes was fantastic and the feedback from the students (and their teachers) was excellent.  Hosted by the University of Exeter, the Big Bang South West gave the National Space Academy a brilliant platform to reach youngsters in the Devon and Cornwall region.

The National Space Academy's resident physics teacher and Education Officer, Sophie Allan, spent part of July in Norway, having been invited back to take part in the activities at NAROM's Space Camp for the 3rd year running.  This annual event brings together students from across Europe to work on space related projects including rocketry and unmanned autonomous vehicles (UAVs).  Sophie presented at the camp and led classes as well as helping teams working on rocketry projects including launches in the beautiful Norwegian countryside.

kierann making cometOther highlights included a day of building comets for Project Manager Kierann Shah and the UK Space Agency's Jeremy Curtis with cub scouts in Builth Wells, mid Wales; two masterclasses for A Level students arranged by the University of Liverpool as part of their engagement with nearby schools; Education Access Day workshops at Harwell as part of RAL's outreach and education offering, and careers events at the National Space Centre for year 10 students including talks from the University of Leicester, the Met Office, Astrium Geo-Information Services and the Mullard Space Science Laboratory.  The keynote speakers at these careers events were  Dr Lewis Dartnell, an astrobiologist, and Dr Brooke Simmons, a Galaxy Zoo researcher, and they were both inspiring and entertaining.

Now that term is over, the National Space Academy is looking to the next academic year to develop both the core offering of the Academy and the partnerships on schemes such as the Higher Apprenticeship in Space Engineering.  The Academy would like to wish all teachers and students a sunny and relaxed summer holiday and the best of luck for those who find out their exam results later this month.  In the meantime watch this space for announcements, updates and insights from the National Space Academy team.