ESA K.Boikou 3The start of September saw Edinburgh host the Living Planet Symposium, a gathering of experts on Earth observation science.  As part of creating an impact from the symposium on awareness of the science involved, several key partners put together activities for a "Schools Lab" running concurrently with the symposium.  National Space Academy Director Anu Ojha was there demonstrating how Earth observation science can be used to tackle classroom topics.

The Schools Lab was co-ordinated by the UK Space Agency, and featured in-depth workshops from the National Space Academy, the European Space Agency (ESA) and Germany's Aerospace and Space Agency: DLR.  Groups of five school pupils at a time visited each provider for a detailed and interactive class looking at the way satellite data is used to observe our planet.

Martin Danner DLR School Lab 035

Mr Ojha's workshop centred around the use of iPad apps which use genuine, up to date, satellite data and allow users to explore the information gathered by various Earth observation research projects.  Although many students are familiar with using tablet computers, even in the classroom, they and their teachers do not always realise the potential for learning and study granted by apps using space related data.  The session also included a practical experiment related to the study of the temperature of Earth's oceans.

Overall 70 pupils and 14 teachers took part in these detailed workshops, supported by students from the University of Edinburgh and volunteers from the National Centre for Earth Observation (NCEO) who brought their own expertise to bear on the activities.  Through the Schools Lab sessions the agencies involved sought to broaden the pupils' understanding of how Earth observation science is conducted and the ways the resulting data can be used to understand our planet.