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Computers and maths in space

Mathematics plays a vital part in space flight, it gives us a way both to predict what should happen in the future and also ways to measure what’s actually happening in the present, and adapt to it. In this resource we look at a few places where maths helps in space flight. The maths is made simple here (it’s far,...

Solids, liquids, gases

The relationship between energy and states of matter is sometimes difficult for students to comprehend. This activity helps to reinforce the notion that, when energy is added to a system, the molecules themselves do not change but their motion and relative positions do change.

While the model is a...

Visual perception

Astronauts, and especially spacecraft commanders, must take in a huge amounts of information from displays and screens. Small changes in this information might indicate important changes that should be addressed, and missing the signs may have important consequences.

This simple activity challenges students...

Astronaut reaction speed

This activity includes a game-based approach to measuring reaction speed. Fast reflexes are vital to astronauts who may need to deal with rapidly escalating incidents and high-speed projectiles.

The effect of distraction on reaction speed is investigated – students collect multiple readings and take averages...

Buildings and fire safety

In this one hour activity, students evaluate the types of fire risks in different buildings.  In the context of a team which has been contracted by the local council to improve fire safety, each team picks a building type and produces advice for the council.

Heart Rate Monitor

In this challenge, students are asked to consider the impact of people suffering from heart conditions, both to the individual and to wider society. They then generate ideas for using programmable systems to improve people’s health, and to monitor themselves. A video introduces the idea of a heart rate monitor, and...

Astronaut or Satellite?

This activity introduces the idea of remote sensing and some of the difficulties of obtaining images from orbit by asking students to match photographs taken from the ground with early astronaut photographs.

Astro Pi Worksheet

This simple worksheet explains the inputs, sensors and outputs on the Astro Pi board. It contains a section for students to fill in with their ideas and a description of what they would use the Astro Pi for on the International Space Station.

Acceleration

Students often find it difficult to understand the related concepts of acceleration and speed. Making use of the BBC micro:bit on-board accelerometer, this playful activity allows students to get an intuitive understanding through hands-on activity.

The simple game requires that students maintain...

Survive on a Desert Island

You’re in the middle of a once-in-a-lifetime sailing trip around the world. As you pass the tropics, you plough into a pile of floating debris. A large log smashes into your hull and your yacht quickly sinks. Luckily for you, you’re a great swimmer, and you can see a small island on the horizon. Unluckily for you,...

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