The PPG Chemistry Education Project was set up using donations from PPG, a global paint supplier, to enable more schools to access National Space Academy Masterclasses.



 This masterclass has been designed to use space contexts to tackle the curriculum in areas that are key to PPG's work: colour and materials. We link the science and engineering of PPG with space science and technology to engage young people with the science curriculum!




Lead Educator, Steve Althorpe, designed the content of the masterclass. The Sessions can be adapted for students aged 9 - 14.

Schools can apply to have a National Space Academy PPG masterclass delivered at their school or at the National Space Centre in Leicester (see conditions).


What's included in the PPG Chemistry Education Project Masterclass?

Why are rockets pointy and why are they usually so tall? What do we use rockets for? What design problems do we need to solve when launching a rocket through the atmosphere into the vacuum of space? What colour should a rocket be? What should it be made of?

Students will discuss these questions, view demonstrations by a National Space Academy Lead Educator and take part in hands on practical activities.

PPG Chemistry Education Project


  Topics covered will include:

  • How to design, carry out, and evaluate a scientific investigation
  • How to interpret data, look for patterns and errors, and explain these in relation to predictions and hypothese
  • Measurement and units
  • Properties of materials
  • Chemical reactions
  • An introduction to infrared radiation and the EM spectrum
  • The Masterclass will be adapted depending on the age group and ability of the students

About PPG
PPG is a global manufacturer of paints, coatings, and speciality materials with headquarters in Pittsburgh, USA and operations in nearly 70 countries around the world. PPG Architectural Coatings UK Limited has manufacturing plants in Birstall and Morley, West Yorkshire. The Birstall site is one of Europe's largest manufacturing facilities for Architectural Coatings and is home to leading paint and sundries brands Johnstone's, Leyland and Fat Hog.

PPG has a strong commitment to corporate social responsibility, for example providing funding, materials and volunteers, as part of its Colourful Communities initiative, to renovate Batley Railway Station in 2016 followed by both Fieldhead Primary and Birstall Primary Academies in 2017. Thanks to this ethos and the enthusiasm of PPG colleagues, the PPG Chemistry Education Project was set up using donations from PPG to create bursaries to enable more schools to access National Space Academy Masterclasses. These classes use space contexts to tackle the curriculum in areas that are key to PPG's work: colour and materials

Important information and how to apply for 2020

  • We can run up to 3 sessions in one day, with up to 30 students in each session
  • Each session lasts 1.5 hours and links to the curriculum in science with a focus on chemistry
  • The masterclass is for students from one year group at a time
  • Your school must provide an appropriate classroom or laboratory space if the sessions are being delivered in school
  • A teacher from the school must be present throughout each of the sessions; both for delivery in school and at the National Space Centre.
  • All state-funded schools are eligible to apply for the PPG fully funded masterclass. Priority is given to schools who have a higher than average (>13%) number of pupil eligible for free school meals.
  • Independent schools may apply but their applications will be considered on a case by case basis.
  • Schools within 60 miles of the National Space Centre in Leicester will be able to apply for funding to cover the full cost of a visit to the National Space Centre, with masterclasses delivered at the National Space Centre (maximum of 90 students). A Lead Educator will deliver the session at schools more than 60 miles away from the National Space Centre, or schools can choose to fund entry and travel to the National Space Centre themselves.
  • PPG Chemistry Education Project Masterclasses are subject to the National Space Academy's usual terms and conditions. These will supplied on receipt of an application
  • Each school may only apply once for the PPG Chemistry Education Project Masterclass during each academic year.

Submit an enquiry



If you are looking for masterclasses in other topics, or don't meet the criteria for our the funded PPG Chemistry Education Project Masterclass, take a look at our other masterclasses here.

Lead Educator Steve AlthorpePPG Chemistry Education Project - activities