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Astronaut Science Workshop

If you looked into the sky over NAIS Pudong around midday on Saturday, you might have noticed some UFOs launching into the sky and plummeting dramatically to earth! These “rockets” were just part of the educational fun at the Astronaut Science workshops held at NAIS Pudong with visiting scientists from the UK National Space Academy.

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Fifty lucky students from Years 5-9 had the chance to do some hands-on learning about space science, including a range of exciting, and often noisy, experiments including the rocket launches. For the experiment, students first built their own rockets using simple materials, and then simulated a real-life countdown and take-off, with some rockets flying more than 50 metres into the air. How do we know it was that far? The experiments weren’t just for fun; students also learnt how to calculate the distance travelled using a simple equation.

The Astronaut Science Workshop was led by Judith Green, a  Physics and Chemistry teacher and member of the Academy who, among her other accolades, was selected to present Teacher Masterclasses at NASA's 2009 Space Exploration Educators Conference at Johnson Space Centre in Texas. Judith revealed many of the “secrets” of the universe during the two-hour workshop, as well as some of the messier aspects of space travel, such as how astronauts use the toilet!

Students also explored UV radiation, ignited their own rockets, and the inspiring and eye-opening workshop ended with a question and answer session, with the inquisitive junior scientists posing questions like “What’s the difference between a black hole and a white hole?” to Judith and the Academy team.  The workshop certainly achieved its objective of igniting an interest in space science, and was a great way to end a very ‘out of this world’ week at NAIS Pudong.

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