03 February 2016
On 02 February, classrooms from around the UK were linked live with British ESA astronaut Tim Peake on board the International Space Station (ISS).
The event, called Cosmic Classroom, was organised by TES Global, along with the UK Space Agency and European Space Agency. Schools were invited to take part in the event by submitting their questions for Tim via Twitter, YouTube and on the TES website.
At the World Museum in Liverpool, space expert and TV presenter Kevin Fong was joined by 300 children from schools across the UK. They, along with thousands of schools taking part online, watched as Tim demonstrated some science activities from space which students could copy from their classrooms on Earth. They learnt how astronauts could play ping pong using water and how a fizzy vitamin tablet reacts in water in zero-gravity.
Tim also answered some of the 7,000 questions submitted by school children. Tom Peretz, from High Storrs School in Sheffield, asked “What is your favourite button on the ISS and what does it do?” Tim was impressed by Tom’s question, as he’d never been asked it before (and astronauts get asked lots of questions). He replied that he likes the button in the Japanese Kibo module that opens the airlock, and the button in the Soyuz spacecraft, which takes the astronauts to and from the space station, that splits the capsule up into three pieces.
The one-hour webcast was the culmination of a whole day of activities for the students at the World Museum in Liverpool, who took part in a series of workshops and activities that covered topics such as observing Earth from space, astronaut fitness and health, and Mars rovers. Those who watched online had access to teaching resources so that the students could build the webcast into their lessons.
Over 290,000 school children took part in the event and #CosmicClassroom was trending across Twitter as schools took to social media to share their experience.
Tim also took to social media to share his experience of the day,
Brilliant questions from #CosmicClassroom today – thanks so much to all who took part!
Jeremy Curtis, Head of Education and Skills at the UK Space Agency, said,
We were thrilled that teachers and students were so enthusiastic to get involved in this huge science class. We hope that all the children involved will remember the day and see how exciting science can be – and how it can lead to a rewarding career, whether they want to be an astronaut like Tim or part of the thousands of people who support him on his mission.