A team of the UK’s top space scientists and science teachers arrived in China this week to launch a new program using space science in schools. They hope to inspire the next generation of innovative thinkers: budding climate scientists, engineers, and even astronauts. The program was launched at a ceremony attended by VIPs from Chaoyang Education Authority, National Space Academy (www.nationalspaceacademy.org), and the British Embassy, at The British School of Beijing, Shunyi (BSB), on Tuesday, 15 March 2016.
It opened with the BSB Secondary Orchestra serenading the attendees with an aptly chosen composition, the Star Wars theme. The presentation in their theater set up like a small space station, started with a short address by Andy Puttock, principal at BSB, who welcomed all the guests and stressed on the importance of Space Education in schools, to inspire future generations with a love of learning. His welcome address was followed by other speakers and the speaker program ended with a very inspiring talk by Anu Ojha OBE, Director of NSA. Ojha focused on educating everyone on the implications of space science studies in schools, and hoped this opportunity would provide a chance to develop a long-term partnership with schools and organizations in China. After the presentation we followed the visiting team, to witness a demonstration of how Space Education can be implemented in a classroom environment. The students were extremely excited and their curiosity coupled with their enthusiasm to get on-board was definitely an indication of the potential of this program.
The Space Academy already runs masterclasses for 7,000 students and teacher training for 1,000 teachers across the UK annually. This is the first time the program will run in China. The program is part of a wider space education and training relationship between the UK and China. The National Space Academy team will discuss with Chinese partners the potential to develop a wider joint program of teacher training and student masterclasses that synthesize the very best practice from education and science systems in both China and the UK. Although BSB was the first school to buy into this program and launch it, the NSA team have other schools they intend to visit during this trip. It is being introduced into Key Stage 3 (Middle School) curriculum with intensive student masterclasses at secondary level and will continue all the way through to High School, with options for graduates to explore it further into college.
Photos: Courtesy of BSB Shunyi