Grantham schoolchildren aim for the stars in science

Ella, Roksana, Mrs Walledge, Jacob, Daniel and Rose-Ellen from West Grantham C of E Primary Academy. Photo: Lou Brimble

Children at a primary school in Grantham were aiming high and aiming for the stars in their science subject about space.

Year 6 children at West Grantham C of E Primary Academy were tasked with learning about the planets and gravity and went through a six-week STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) program that covered a variety of studies thorough.

The program included researching the qualities and qualifications needed to be an astronaut and using that knowledge to write to the European Space Agency, apply for a place in their astronaut training program, and demonstrate the qualities needed to be chosen.

The kids also designed a space suit, designed and built flight-capable rockets, and researched the requirements needed to operate a space station, eventually building their own models.

Grade 6 teacher Ms Charley Walledge said the children have embraced the subject: “It’s really important that children have a STEM-rich curriculum to explore as it promotes critical thinking and problem solving.

“These skills can be transferred to all areas of the school curriculum and everyday life.

“Providing children with these opportunities fosters a passion for innovation and provides a solid foundation for our future generation of scientists, inventors and engineers.

Ella, Daniel, Jacob, Rose-Ellen and Roksana. Photo: Lou Brimble

“Children like to be able to work creatively and are rightly proud of their work.

“They were so committed to it and were disappointed when it ended!”

At the height of their work, the children wrote a letter during their English lessons to the academy’s chief executive, Ms Anna Martin, requesting a school trip to the National Space Center in Leicester.

Anna said: “I was thrilled to be able to tell the children that they will be visiting the National Space Center on May 16, which for many children will be the first school trip since the pandemic began.”

Anna said a £500 donation from the The International Air and Space Training Institute (IASTI®) helped fund the school trip.

“We are incredibly fortunate that Magnus in Newark, another Southwell & Nottingham Multi Academy Trust (SNMAT) school, is working in partnership with IASTI® to deliver 2-year courses covering Pilot, Engineering and Ground Operations, – the equivalent of 3 A levels in aeronautical training.

“IASTI is passionate about supporting young people to pursue careers in aviation, and we are delighted that the Magnus partnership is also helping our youngest children in West Grantham to enjoy such an inspiring school trip.

“Our thanks go to Simon Witts and the IASTI team for the gift and we are sure our children will make the most of this opportunity.”



Teacher Charley Walledge said the program has been a great success: “We have already explored more force-related topics and are experimenting with and building inventions that use levers, gears and pulleys with the intention of building a stage with a moving stage curtain, using some of the mechanics we learned.

“It ties in with our Macbeth novel.

“All the children’s learning will be reinforced by the school trip to the National Space Center in Leicester. When the children learned that they were going on a trip at the end of our school party, they were absolutely delighted, we even had tears of joy! »

Simon Witts is CEO and Founder of International Air and Space Training Institute (IASTI®) which contributed to the financing of the children’s school trip.

He said: “We want to fully activate minds and allow people to dream of careers they previously thought were beyond them. This is why we are so proud to be able to support the pupils of West Grantham C of E Primary Academy in their visit to the National Space Centre.

“This reflects our vision at IASTI, a global movement establishing direct routes to future sustainable aviation.

“It’s about giving people from all walks of life the ability to access the exciting world of air and space and opening up opportunities that previously seemed closed.

“We are currently working with Magnus in Newark to provide courses for students to gain qualifications that are direct pathways to these professions, in unique, industry-led courses delivered in partnership with schools and colleges. prominent such as Magnus Church of England Academy.

“We hope the children of West Grantham have a wonderful day and are inspired to aim high in their future career choices.”


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Jessica C. Bell