British astronaut Tim Peake has launched home teaching and learning support for parents and children in lockdown.
The free resources come from STEM Learning, which is a non-profit organisation, and the UK’s the largest provider of education support in science, technology, engineering and mathematics - subjects often referred to by the acronym STEM.
The initiative has made a bank of over 14,000 STEM subject learning resources, readily available and free of charge for parents and carers who are teaching at home due to school closures.
Which educational activities are included in the initiative?
The not-for-profit organisation has created a number of astronomical-themed activities for budding space travellers, with the topic of space providing an engaging and exciting way for children to learn about science and mathematics.
One of the exercises is known as ‘Mission X’, which encourages students to train like an astronaut. Another is the ‘Moon Camp Challenge’ where children are prompted to design a moon camp.
Other fun, hands-on STEM activities that have been suggested on their website and can easily be carried out at home include how to bounce an egg using nothing but vinegar, and using jelly to learn about how things dissolve.
Additionally you can find instructions on how to build model helicopter spinners, and resources to teach children about the spectrum of light while making ‘Thank You NHS’ rainbows.
Are the resources suitable for my child?
The wide range of educational material, including over 300 activities, is suitable for ages between four and 19 years old.
Where can I access the free resources?
You can find all of these free educational activities packs on the STEM Learning website.
Over the coming months, the activities and materials will be supported with regular video content from other famous STEM Ambassadors.
Who created these materials?
All of the resources have been curated by STEM Learning’s specialist team of experienced subject teachers.
Fran Dainty, STEM’s Head of Education said, “Not only are they enjoyable and easy to do, but fun, and the parents here at STEM have been writing blogs about their own science experiments, tips and experiences, which are also available to read.”
Extra support for parents
Other available advice for parents includes how to maintain your child’s wellbeing as a result of coronavirus and a survival guide for parents who are home learning for the first time.
For extra support for parents homeschooling their children, STEM Learning is offering a free web chat service where parents can talk directly to subject experts.
This service is available on weekdays from 8:30am to 4.30pm, on all of STEM Learning’s web pages.
‘Children would make very good astronauts’
As a STEM Ambassador, Tim Peake recently featured in a new video where he answered school children’s questions and advised them on how to become an astronaut.
In the video he discusses pre-launch quarantine and Covid-19 on the International Space Station, and whether astronauts worry about running out of loo roll, before predicting that one day children will be going into space.
One question posed to Peake was whether children would make better astronauts than grown ups.
In response, Peake, the first British astronaut to visit the International Space Station, replied, “You know what? I think children do bring an awful lot of inspiration, great ideas, new ways of thinking.
“So yes, I think children would make very good astronauts and who knows one day, we might see children going up into space.”
Talking about the importance of STEM subjects and career options in space and aviation, Peake said, “I was fortunate enough to become an astronaut, but even if I hadn’t there are so many interesting and exciting careers in space and aviation that are all made possible by STEM subjects.
“The most important thing, regardless of what field you’d like to work in, is to follow what you’re passionate about; work hard at it, be determined and, while there will be ups-and-downs along the way, you will always see it through.”