Sunderland University is working with the Aldrin Family Foundation to introduce primary school children to space science and STEM subjects. The Giant Mars and Moon Maps programme uses giant interactive floor maps to help students learn about space exploration and the challenges and opportunities it presents. The programme has made its first visit to Academy 360 in Sunderland where more than 40 Year 5 pupils used the maps and a MyBot Rover robot to learn about space. The Aldrin Family Foundation is led by Dr Andrew Aldrin, the son of Buzz Aldrin, the second man on the moon. Sunderland University is the first UK institution to partner with the Aldrin Family Foundation.
The Aldrin Family Foundation, led by Dr Andrew Aldrin, has partnered with the University of Sunderland to introduce primary school children to space science and STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects. The Giant Mars and Moon Maps programme uses giant interactive floor maps to bring the boundless possibilities of space and space exploration to life for pupils in the Sunderland area and beyond. The programme, which is facilitated by the University’s pre-16 outreach team and trainee teachers from the University’s School of Education, has made its first visit to Academy 360 in Sunderland.
More than 40 Year 5 pupils participated in a number of activities using the giant maps to learn about the challenges and opportunities presented by space. They also got the opportunity to navigate a MyBot Rover robot across the surface of Mars on a special mission. Aldrin Family Foundation Chief Innovation Officer Jim Christensen, who is also a former Director of Education at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida, delivered the session. He said, “Aldrin Family Foundation has a goal of inspiring students in science, technology, engineering, the arts and mathematics, and the project we’re doing with Sunderland so fits with what it is that we believe in – and now we find out it’s really what Sunderland believes in as well.”
Trainee teacher Nicola McCoy, who is studying a Primary Education PGCE at the University of Sunderland, helped facilitate the lesson. She said, “It’s been very interesting particularly listening to Jim talk to the children because he is very knowledgeable, they asked him lots of questions and they were very, very engaged in the subject matter, which is fantastic.” Lisa Irvin-Kaye, Year 5 teacher and Primary Lead for Science at Academy 360, added, “Space is something that engages all of the children naturally but to see it in context and to see there are real-life opportunities for them, to take their learning further, I think that is brilliant.”
Sunderland University is the first UK institution to partner with the Aldrin Family Foundation to help further its goal to educate and inspire the next generation to take on the challenges and opportunities of space.