These resources have been reviewed and selected by STEM Learning’s team of education specialists for factual accuracy and relevance to teaching STEM subjects in UK schools.

The next frontier

The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures, in 2015, focused on the topic of human spaceflight.  The activities linked to the clips from lecture 3 are as follows:

Step 1: Starter to link to pupil experience
Introduce the topic of extremely long journeys by starting with talking about pupils’ greatest or most extreme experiences.

Step 2: Develop through imagination the concept of ‘space tools’ capable of making food and water
This section is set up as a mystery: what amazing, cutting edge technology could astronauts possibly use to generate their food, oxygen and water on a journey to mars? Encourage pupil’s imagination and then reveal simple ‘space tools’ in the classroom.

Step 3: Main investigation to measure change across a semi-permeable membrane and two solutions of different concentration
Pupils plan, predict and carry out a practical activity to measure and record the changes to a gummy bear (or potato stick).

Step 4: Plenary sets a further amazing possibility
Food, whilst amazing, can possibly be made in space. Water, whilst amazing, can be made safe enough to drink. What about artificial gravity? Leave pupils to wonder: could that be possible too?


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