Category Archives: Teaching Resources

The Space Diary is back!

By | 6-8 years, 8+ years, Principia Space Diary, Teaching Resources | No Comments

Principia Space Diary is back, giving thousands of schoolchildren the chance to become space experts as they learn about British European Space Agency astronaut Tim Peake’s historic space mission

space diary

Students from Wellesley School show off their Space Diaries at the Principia Schools Conference in Portsmouth last month.

Curved House Kids and author Lucy Hawking today launch the second Principia Space Diary programme, exactly one year after British ESA Astronaut Tim Peake blasted off on his Principia space mission. The Space Diary is a pioneering primary science scheme first created in 2015-16 as one of the UK Space Agency-funded education outreach projects supporting Tim Peake’s mission. It was an instant hit, attracting an estimated 60,000 children in 1500 schools – three times the number it originally hoped to recruit. With Tim now back safely on earth the Space Diary programme has been revised and updated to incorporate the incredible range of resources he generated while aboard the International Space Station.

British ESA Astronaut Tim Peake says “Engaging students in STEM has always been at the core of the Principia mission and the Space Diary has proven to be a really effective and empowering resource for doing that at primary school level. The Space Diary programme not only teaches children about space and science, but also crosses lots of other disciplines and incorporates books, digital and multimedia to encourage full participation. Now that I’m back safely on Earth, I look forward to seeing what this new corps of Space Apprentices do with their new Space Diaries.”

The Space Diary programme aims to empower children and engage them in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) learning by giving them the chance to create and personalise their very own book while they follow Tim’s mission. Students read, write, measure, count, research, plan, draw, code and decode, design and create, invent, imagine and more. They will also have the chance to access videos and photos of Tim’s activities including running the London Marathon aboard the International Space Station (ISS), a range of fascinating space experiments and Tim’s epic space walk (EVA).

“Tim Peake’s mission to space was an inspiration to so many and I am delighted we can offer a new set of primary school students the opportunity to draw upon his unique experiences and, in doing so, engage with STEM subjects at an early point in their education. We are so proud to work with Tim again and I hope schools will enjoy the new Principia Space Diary,” says author Lucy Hawking.

The new programme links to the curriculum for Primary Science, Maths, English, British Values, Computing (ICT), Spiritual, Moral, Social and Cultural development (SMSC), Design and Technology (DT) and includes exclusive coding activities from Code Club and Raspberry Pi, integration with the Zappar augmented reality app and a wealth of online resources. All lesson plans are differentiated for P1-5 (KS1 and KS2) for teachers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland and extension activities provide extra challenges for those who need them.

“It is a massive testament to the skill of whoever designed the Space Diary that not one child had ‘lost’ theirs over the summer. Indeed they treasure them.” – Teresa Harris, Westbrook Hay School, Hertfordshire

Teachers and homeschool parents in the UK can pre-register from 15 December 2016 in order to access the entire online programme for free when the materials are released on 30th January 2017. Access includes downloadable versions of the entire Space Diary book and curriculum-linked activities, differentiated teaching notes, lesson plans, extension activities and exclusive videos with experts including British astronaut Helen Sharman, Professor Stephen Hawking, TV presenter Dallas Campbell and astronomer Dr Sheila Kanani.

Teachers also have the option to pre-order printed copies of the Space Diary to be delivered to their schools. Those who pre-order by 16th January 2017 will get £1 copies of the Space Diaries to ensure that all children have access to physical copies. Publisher Kristen Harrison says: “We hope the £1 Space Diaries will make it possible for every child to have a physical book. We are still hearing from teachers who participated last year whose students have treasured their diaries long after the programme finished.”

The Space Diary programme is created by publisher Kristen Harrison at Curved House Kids and children’s author Lucy Hawking, and includes expert input from computer scientist Professor Peter McOwan, the Vice-Principal for Public Engagement and Student Enterprise at Queen Mary University of London (QMUL). It is funded by the UK Space Agency with additional support from the European Space Agency and Curved House Kids.

Follow the conversation using #spacediary on Twitter and find out more about the Space Diary (http://principiaspacediary.org/).

Curved House Kids are hiring enthusiastic teachers!

By | 4-6 years, 6-8 years, 8+ years, News, Principia Space Diary, Teaching Resources, Visual Literacy, Worksheets | No Comments

Curved House Kids are an energetic educational publisher with a focus on visual literacy and visual methodologies. We aim to make the art of communication achievable for all children, regardless of their skill level or circumstances. We take a democratic approach to learning and visual literacy is our secret weapon!

If this sounds like your kind of approach and you’re a practicing teacher in the UK, read on…

Teacher Ad SM1

This year we have run the Principia Space Diary programme in partnership with Lucy Hawking and Queen Mary University of London. This programme has been funded by the UK Space Agency as one of nine educational outreach projects associated with ESA Astronaut Tim Peake’s mission to the ISS. The programme has been a huge success, reaching over 60,000 primary-aged students across the UK, and we are now working to develop new resources and programmes that can be accessed in the classroom.

We are expanding our resources library for primary and early secondary students (Key Stages 1-3) to include more free, downloadable learning materials for teachers and we are looking for experienced educators to review our work and help us build a library of first-class materials. These materials will teach a wide range of subjects using visual methods, and always intersecting with literacy learning and visual literacy.

As a passionate and creative teacher, your job will be to review materials that we produce and help us to align these to the curriculum, making them as effective as possible for busy teachers. You will also attend our annual brainstorm in which you tell us what you think we should be producing and what we’re doing right and wrong. We’ll also show you new ideas and technologies that might improve your own work.

This is a freelance role at an agreed hourly rate and we offer plenty of flexibility to fit in around busy teaching schedules. All work, bar the annual brainstorm, is done remotely and with plenty of notice. We expect it would be around 10 hours per year initially, plus one day for the brainstorm. Expenses will be paid for those who need to travel. 

This call is currently open to all teachers in the UK and Ireland. We are keen to hear from KS1-3 teachers and welcome those with specialisms in particular areas. Our materials are not tied to the curriculum but they need to be complementary, so it is important that all applicants have an up-to-date knowledge of the curriculum.

Please click the link below to complete a very brief application form (it will only take 5 minutes) and we will contact you if we think you’d be a good fit. If you have any questions please feel free to email us at info@curvedhousekids.com.

Apply Now

 

Shakespeare

Decoding Shakespeare’s Sonnets

By | 8+ years, Blog, Teaching Resources, Visual Literacy, Worksheets | No Comments

Four hundred years ago Shakespeare died in Stratford-upon-Avon. He left behind a legacy of 37 plays, 154 sonnets and two epic narrative poems. Since then, people all around the world have embraced his work, through books, plays, films and creative projects. We even use his phrases in everyday language, feeling ‘faint hearted’ (Henry VI, Part I), ‘dead as a doornail’ (Henry VI, Part II), or ‘fancy free’ (A Midsummer Night’s Dream). Shakespeare has given us wonderful insults, like ‘loathsome as a toad’ (Troilus and Cressida), and powerful descriptions of love, like ‘it is an ever-fixed mark, that looks on tempests, and is never shaken’ (Sonnet 116). In almost any situation, you could find a Shakespearean line to express how you feel.

Young people often find Shakespeare difficult to engage with – it’s a little like learning a foreign language! Seeing his plays live or as films can be a great starting point. But decoding Shakespeare’s sonnets is a bit harder, since they’re not often performed or produced. At Curved House Kids, we like to take a hands-on approach to making literature accessible, so we’ve developed a suite of ‘Write your own sonnet’ worksheets for students in Key Stage 3-4.

Our worksheets explain what a sonnet is and how it’s structured. They provide a simple template so that young poets can plan their rhyming scheme easily, without getting lost on the way. Each template includes a visual prompt to kickstart the imagination. These prompts will help unlock creativity, providing inspiration for the ‘story’ the sonnet will tell and the vocabulary poets might use to tell it. The prompts on each of our templates have different moods and styles, so your poets can choose one which appeals to them, or challenge themselves by writing several poems.

Download our worksheets by clicking in the image below and get your aspiring poets scribbling. Feel free to email us at info@curvedhousekids.com to share your work or use the hashtag #CHKshakes on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram!

If you want to explore Shakespeare’s works in other ways, check out Shakespeare400. This year-long programme coordinated by King’s College London includes performances, exhibitions and creative activities for all age groups. Visit the Sheakespeare400 website for programme details.

We wait with ‘bated breath’ (The Merchant of Venice) to read your sonnets!

Veg in Space!

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Image by NASA. (Artists impression of an International Space Station garden)

Growing plants in space is an important area of research – especially as we need to explore how we might be able to grow food on planets such as Mars.

Image by NASA.

Image by NASA.

At the moment, astronauts eat food sent from Earth in packages like in this picture. If we want to spend more time in space, however, it will be much nicer to grow our own food!

A team of European Space Agency (ESA) scientists has created a list of the top 10 plants to grow in space.

Soybean

Soybeans are amazingly rich in protein and oil, and can be made into products such as soy sauce, while the immature pods are eaten as edamame. Dried soya can be found in many other foods and drinks, as well as essential products from paper to adhesives. After processing, the oil from the seeds can also be used as a diesel fuel – what a useful plant to grow in space!

Potato

Humble they may be, but few crops produce as much food per square metre. Although mostly carbohydrate, they contain high-quality protein and useful amounts of vitamin C. Older varieties are often robust, water-efficient and high yielding, if not so easy on the eye.

Rice

Rice feeds nearly half of humanity, and it would be unthinkable to leave this behind. Paddy rice (grown in water-filled paddy fields) might be tricky in space, so perhaps the much less important dry land rice (grown in dry soils) would be the interplanetary choice.

Soft white wheat

Used to make many of the staples of our diet, from bread and pasta to couscous.

Tomato

Tomatoes are a must. Imagine life without this tasty, vitamin rich succulent fruit. It can be eaten raw or used in cooking.

Spinach

Spinach is quick-growing, can be eaten raw or rapidly cooked, and its sharp flavour would be especially welcome on long voyages. Astronauts would be wise not to gorge, however, as the oxalic acid it contains can limit dietary uptake of calcium.

Lettuce

Quick and easy to grow, lettuce produces limited waste and is refreshing, an important point for travellers confined to their spacecraft for long periods. Lettuce was originally grown for its oil rich seeds and these too might be valuable in space.

In August 2015, a few months before Tim Peake’s mission, Scott Kelly and the other astronauts aboard the ISS ate the very first lettuce grown in space. The red romaine lettuce was grown in the ISS’s Veggie plant growth system. After harvesting the lettuce and tasting it, the astronauts dressing it with olive oil and balsamic vinegar. You can watch them enjoying it here.

Beetroot

Beetroot is a sweet, tasty and nutritious root crop, and its leaves make a filling, robust spinach-like vegetable. In theory, sugar beet would be a heavier yielding crop, but it is of little use in space since there are no processing factories.

Onion

Lengthy missions would be dull indeed without these sweet, nutritious, flavour-enhancing vegetables. They also have an analeptic (stimulating) effect on the central nervous system, helping to keep astronauts alert. Onions like a hotter, sunnier climate, so varieties that perform well in Britain should grow anywhere.

Spirulina

Not very appetising but in the worst-case scenario, space explorers would be able to survive on this green micro-alga. Harvested from the ocean, it is protein rich and efficient at producing oxygen from carbon dioxide breathed out by the crew.

 

Find out more about plants being grown in space through the Royal Horticultural Society’s Rocket Science project: rhs.org.uk/schoolgardening or #RocketScience.

Happy space gardening!

princ-rocketsci

Exploring our solar system

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Photo by Mads Bødker - Creative Commons

Photo by Mads Bødker – Creative Commons

This month, our Principia Mission Space Diary investigates some of the things astronaut Tim Peake might see in space, like the planets in our solar system.

All the planets orbiting our sun are unique. They have different landscapes, atmospheres and rotation speeds. To help our young Space Apprentices explore the planets without having to leave Earth, we’ve put together some information for them.

 

A huge thank you to Year 11 student Anna Fleming, from St George’s School for Girls in Edinburgh, who’s written a fabulous piece for us about Mercury. Thank you Anna for leading our expedition into outer space!

Mercury

by Anna Fleming

Daytime temperatures on Mercury can reach 800 degrees Celsius. This is because the sun is 38.98 miles from Mercury. Compare this distance to Earth’s distance from the sun – 91.4 to 94.51 million miles – and you can see just how exposed Mercury is to the sun’s heat.

The scorching heat of the day is followed by freezing nights – Mercury is a planet of two extremes. Night time temperatures can go down to minus 290 degrees, as cold as deep space. At this temperature, you would freeze to death instantly. It gets so cold because Mercury does not have an atmosphere to trap heat and regulate temperature. Due to these extremes in temperature, it is impossible for water to exist on Mercury.

During the day and the night, the sky over Mercury is black, also due to the lack of an atmosphere to scatter the sun’s light. Its surface is similar in appearance to our moon, with craters from meteorite impact dotted around and regions of smooth plains. Most of the craters were a result of Mercury being heavily bombarded with meteorites 4.6 billion years ago. These craters can span hundreds of kilometres across and 2 kilometres deep – better watch your step!

There is no weather system on Mercury due to the lack of atmosphere, meaning you wouldn’t have to worry about any storms or hurricanes. However, there are the extremes in temperatures and the occasional earthquake due to compression forces ‘shrinking’ the planet.

The gravity on Mercury is only 38% strong as the Earth’s. This means you could jump three times as high and would be able to easily pick up really heavy objects. Playing football in these gravity conditions would be difficult. The ball would stay in the air for a long time and would go huge distances even with a gentle kick. You would need a much larger pitch and be prepared to use big leaps and jumps to get the ball.

Venus

Venus is the hottest planet in our solar system. Its surface can reach temperatures of up to 480 degrees Celsius. This is because it has a permanent layer of thick clouds, which trap in the heat and cause a greenhouse effect. The heat has boiled all the water out of Venus’ atmosphere, which means its surface is too hostile to sustain life.

Venus is not a very welcoming planet. Beneath its clouds of sulfuric acid droplets is a landscape of volcanoes, mountains and craters. Temperatures during the day and night are similar, because of the solar winds which move slowly across Venus’ surface. These winds aren’t like a refreshing breeze though – they only make Venus hotter.

Even though scientists think Venus might once have been a lot like Earth, possibly even with oceans, it has no moon or any seasons. The reason there are no seasons is because Venus doesn’t tilt on an axis, the way Earth does.

The days on Venus are very, very long because Venus spins so slowly. It takes 243 Earth days to equal one day on Venus. Imagine how long that would make your school day! Venus also spins in the opposite direction to the other planets in our solar system, with the sun rising in the west and setting in the east. This may have been caused by an asteroid colliding with Venus and changing its rotation.

The days on Venus might be long, but the years are short – shorter than the days in fact! It takes only 225 Earth days for Venus to orbit the sun, making its year shorter than its day. If you are 10 on Earth, you would be 16 on Venus, but you would only have been alive for 15 Venus days. There’d be days on Venus when you’d have to have more than one birthday!

Despite its harsh landscape and strange rotation, Venus is the brightest natural object in the sky, after the moon and the sun, of course. Because it’s so bright, lots of ancient civilisations had myths about it. This may also be the reason that it was named after the Roman goddess of love and beauty – quite a contrast to its barren and hostile landscape!

Earth

Our home planet is the only planet in our solar system known (at present!) to support life. Everything Earth’s inhabitants need to stay alive exists under the thin layer of Earth’s atmosphere, which divides our world from outer space.

Earth is a solid planet whose surface is covered in diverse terrain: mountains, forests, valleys, plains, polar caps and deserts. But one of the key differences between Earth and the other planets in our solar system is water. Around 70% of the Earth’s surface is covered in oceans, and we have rivers, lakes and other bodies of water on top of this. Earth’s water was originally trapped within the planet, but over time volcanic action brought this water to its surface.

Earth has an ozone layer, made from a special kind of oxygen. Like a protective shield around the planet, the ozone layer absorbs most of the sun’s harmful UV rays. This is why preserving our ozone layer is so important – we don’t want to let those nasty rays into our home!

Did you know that your compass wouldn’t work the same way on other planets? Earth has a powerful magnetic field, which we’ve been using for centuries to help us find our way. Scientists believe that it exists because of Earth’s rapid rotation on its axis, and its nickel-iron core. But our magnetic field isn’t just a useful navigation tool. It protects Earth from the effects of solar winds. Solar winds are charged particles that flow from the sun. They can travel at up to 900 kilometres per hour, and reach temperatures of one million degrees – Earth would be very different without our protective magnetic field!

Mars

Mars has fascinated Earthlings for a long time, and not just because of its unusual red glow. Scientists believe intelligent life once lived on Mars, which led to the theory of Martians. This is partly because Mars is similar to Earth in many ways. It has seasons like earth, even though these last twice as long and are more extreme than we’re used to, and is the only other planet with polar caps.

Ice water has been found beneath the Martian polar caps, and there’s also evidence of water in the icy soil and thin clouds. The atmosphere is too thick for water to exist as a liquid on the surface of Mars, but the terrain suggests that there were floods long ago. Because of the presence of water, scientists are researching whether it might be possible for people to live on Mars one day.

Like Earth, Mars has volcanoes and canyons. One vast canyon system runs along Mars’ equator and is as long as the United States. And we think the Grand Canyon is big! Mars has our solar system’s highest mountain, which is called Olympus Mons. This mountain is a volcano 21 kilometres high and 600 kilometres wide. Mount Everest is 8.8 kilometres high. Can you imagine something nearly three times higher? Scientists have found evidence of lava on Olympus Mons, which means it’s still an active volcano. It’d be exciting to see it erupt from the ISS!

Even though Mars has some similarities to Earth, there are lots of differences too. Instead of one moon, Mars has two. They’re called Phobos and Deimos. They are much smaller than our moon, aren’t smooth and round, and orbit quite close to the Martian surface. Mars has gravity like Earth, but it’s only 38% as strong. This means that you could jump more than three times as high on Mars.

The days on Mars are only a little bit longer than on Earth – 24.617 hours – but one year takes 687 Earth days. This is because of Mars’ big and elliptical orbit, which gives Mars six seasons instead of four. These extra two seasons are called perihelion, when Mars is closest to the sun, and aphelion, when it’s furthest from the sun. The elliptical shape of Mars’ orbit also creates the largest and fiercest dust storms in our solar system. These can last for months and cover the whole planet. It wouldn’t be much fun living on Mars during one of these storms!

Jupiter

Jupiter is the biggest planet in our solar system, which is why it was named after the Roman god of gods, and the god of the sky. Jupiter is so massive that it would take eleven Earths lined up side-by-side to equal the distance from one side of Jupiter to the other, and 317 Earths to equal its mass.

Unlike Earth, Jupiter doesn’t have a solid surface. It’s one giant ball of gas. This means there’s nowhere for a spacecraft to land. Jupiter has a unique cloud layer in its upper atmosphere, which gives it its unusual marbled appearance. Its cloud belts are made of ammonia crystals and sulfur – imagine how that would smell! Jupiter also has three rings: two faint outer rings and one thick inner ring.

Jupiter has 67 moons in total, all orbiting around it. Its moon called Ganymede is the biggest moon in our solar system. All these moons whizzing around Jupiter make it a bit like a solar system. Scientist believe that if Jupiter was just 80 times bigger, it would have turned into a star, like our sun.

Jupiter wouldn’t be a very nice place to visit, even if there was somewhere to land. Its pressure is so intense that anything that gets through its clouds is crushed and melted. It also has a giant storm called the Great Red Spot. This storm is bigger than Earth and has been raging for hundreds of years!

If you lived on Jupiter, you’d have a very short day at work or school because your whole day and night would be just under ten Earth hours long. Even though your day would be short, your year would last nearly 12 Earth years, so you’d have to wait a long time for your birthday. You’d have plenty of time to plan your party though!

Saturn

Saturn is famous for its seven rings, which often make it people’s favourite planet. These beautiful rings have puzzled scientists since they were discovered by Galileo in 1610. The ring system is made from billions of particles, which can be tiny icy grains or as large as mountains. The reason we can see the rings from Earth with a telescope is because they’re made from ice. If you’ve seen a frozen lake on a sunny winter’s day, you’ll know that ice is very reflective. Just like the planets moving around the sun, each ring orbits around Saturn at its own speed.

Like Jupiter, Saturn is a gas giant, made from hydrogen and helium, the same gas we use to fill up balloons. Saturn is the least dense planet in our solar system. Because it’s mainly made of hydrogen, it’s less dense than water. This means it could theoretically float if you found a bathtub big enough to put it in.

Saturn has 150 moons and some smaller ‘moonlets’. Each moon is frozen like an ice cube. Saturn’s moons all have interesting and unique qualities, which scientists are still discovering. The moon called Enceladus appears to have an ocean hidden below its frozen surface. Another moon, called Titus, looks like it may have life on it, but its frozen surface of liquid methane lakes and landscape of frozen nitrogen would mean life would be very different to the kind we know on Earth. Another moon called Pan orbits within the main rings of Saturn, sweeping materials out of a narrow space called the Encke Gap.

Saturn has an unusual hexagon shape which surrounds its north pole. The hexagon is a six-sided jet stream which rotates. It is so big that it spans 30,000 kilometres – more than twice the diameter of Earth! The discovery of this strange phenomena thirty years ago helped scientists calculate the rotation speed of Saturn, which is 10.7 Earth hours.

Even though you can’t see Saturn’s rings without a telescope, you can still see the planet from Earth. It’s a pale yellow colour because its upper atmosphere contains ammonia crystals. On Earth, we often use ammonia in cleaning products, especially for glass and stainless steel. Do you think this would make Saturn sparkling and clean?

Uranus

Uranus is a cold and windy planet made of gas. It was the first planet to be discovered by telescope, which means you can’t see it from Earth with the naked eye. If you get a chance to look at Uranus, you’ll see it’s a pale blue colour. This is because its upper atmosphere is made from water, ammonia and methane ice crystals.

Since its discovery in 1781, scientists have learnt all kinds of interesting things about Uranus, like its strange tilt. Its equator is nearly at right angles with its orbit, meaning that it spins on its side. Instead of moving like a spinning top around the sun like the other planets, Uranus looks like it rolls around the sun. Because of this, scientists have given it the nickname ‘the sideways planet’. Their theory is that something the size of Earth collided with Uranus, dramatically changing the angle it rotates at.

Like Earth, Uranus has seasons, but these are very different from the seasons we know. Each season on Uranus lasts 42 years! One hemisphere of the planet will have non-stop daylight and heat, when it faces the sun. During this time, the other half of the planet has a long, dark winter. The planet slowly rotates so that the other hemisphere is facing the sun, and the seasons reverse. You’d have a very long summer holiday if you went to school on Uranus!

Even though Uranus has such a long summer, it’s the coldest planet in our solar system because it’s so far away from the sun. Uranus is called an ‘ice giant’ planet, because it has an icy mantle which surrounds its rock and iron core. Its minimum surface temperature is minus 224 degrees Celsius – you wouldn’t need a fridge!

Uranus has 13 rings, but they’re not spectacular like Saturn’s. Uranus’ strange tilt means its rings are perpendicular to the sun. Scientists think the rings are made from pieces of comets and moons that collided and broke apart. The dust and debris caused in these collisions is the reason why Uranus’ rings aren’t as beautiful as Saturn’s icy ones. Some researchers believe these rings are still very young, so who knows how they might change over the next few centuries!

Neptune

Earthlings didn’t know Neptune existed until 1846 because it is so far away from our home planet. It takes such a long time for Neptune to move around the sun – 165 Earth years – that it has only completed its orbit once since humans discovered it. Even though its year is so long, a day on Neptune only takes 16 Earth hours. This is because it spins very quickly on its axis.

Neptune is cold, dark and very, very windy. Its supersonic winds are three times stronger than those on Jupiter and nine times stronger than Earth’s winds. Not very good weather for flying kites!

Are you afraid of storms? Then Neptune isn’t the place for you. Neptune’s biggest storm is called the Great Dark Spot, which is about the same size as Earth. The longest storm on record started in 1989 and lasted five years! Neptune has a second, smaller storm which is about the size of Earth’s moon and is called the Small Dark Spot.

Neptune is an ice giant like Uranus. It’s made from a combination of water, ammonia and methane. The layer of methane gas above its clouds gives Neptune its blue colour, which is why it was named after the Roman God of the Sea. Methane absorbs red light, which is why this planet looks so blue.

There are fourteen known moons orbiting Neptune. The largest moon – Titan – is one of the coldest worlds in our solar system. It spits out particles of nitrogen ice and dust from its surface – not very welcoming for space explorers!

Like Uranus, Neptune also has six faint rings. These are made from ice particles and grains of dust coated in a carbon-based substance. Scientists believe these rings are very young, and won’t last for a long time, so Saturn doesn’t have to worry about being outdone!

Congratulations on completing your mission to explore our solar system. Have a safe journey back to planet Earth, Space Apprentices!

Y3 students countdown to Principia launch!

By | 4-6 years, 6-8 years, Blog, News, Teaching Resources, Visual Literacy | No Comments
Design your your own space suit principia space diary tim peake

Designing our own spacesuits

This blog has been written by Tim Bromwich’s Year 3 Class at Cooper and Jordan School, Aldridge

Today in Year 3 we have witnessed the most amazing thing!

We all sat together and experienced a once in a lifetime event. Tim Peake made history by becoming the first official British astronaut to go to the ISS.

Over the past few weeks we have learnt more about space through our Space Diaries, preparing ourselves to become astronauts, and watched many videos from aboard the International Space Station. The more we learnt about life in space, the more we couldn’t wait until lift off. This morning we were all extremely excited by the fact that we could see Major Peake blast off, all the way over in Baikonur Kazakhstan. We huddled together in Mrs BB’s classroom and watched the BBC coverage of the launch. We learnt so much from the presenters, from the training that astronauts undertake to the importance of their space suits.

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Creating our first meal in space

We eagerly waited for the countdown and as soon as the timer in the corner got to 10, we joined in with the countdown.

As the counter reached zero the whole of Year 3 cheered, along with people all around the world, as we watched the rockets propel Tim and his team towards space. We all felt overwhelmed with happiness as we saw the rocket successfully leave the launch pad, and were excited to find out more about what Tim would get up to.

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The launch countdown and our first creative writing exercise ‘8-minutes to space!’

To make it even better, as the rockets ejected themselves from the craft, Tim turned to the camera gave a big thumbs up and a wave, then went back to concentrating on his flight checks. It felt like Tim was waving to us thousands of miles away in Aldridge.

We will all be rushing home tonight to turn on the television to see how Tim and the team have progressed, and cannot wait until we hear him talk from aboard the ISS.

What a fantastic morning for us all and the start of an awesome adventure for Tim and his crew.

Well done Tim!

Tim Bromwich’s Year 3 Class
Cooper and Jordan School, Aldridge

Principia Space Diary Primary Literacy Resources Curved House Kids Make Your Own Books 27th Lincoln Scouts

Scouts embark on a space journey

By | 4-6 years, 6-8 years, Blog, News, Teaching Resources, Visual Literacy | No Comments

DOFE LOGOI’m sure you can recall a time when someone asked, ‘Do you remember where you were when…’ usually followed by a major historic event. Imagine future dinner table conversations, when our young people are asked if they remember where they were when the first British astronaut went to the International Space Station under the Union flag, and they reply, ‘Remember it? I was part of it!

The young people in the 27th Lincoln Scout Group, with the support of Eagle Community Primary School, are headed for an out-of-this-world orbit whilst creating a lasting record of their involvement in the Principia Mission. As Major Tim Peake lives and works on the ISS, conducting scientific experiments like determining the ability of human life to survive, grow food, and undertake activities in microgravity conditions, we will be following along on Earth. Our group will imaginatively document their experiences in a unique Space Diary from Curved House Kids and the UK Space Agency Principia Mission outreach programme.

Lincoln ScoutsThis week all seventy of our young people (aged 6 to 14) and leaders started their diaries, putting themselves into the boots of a real astronaut, and living up to the scouting motto, to find out how prepared we would be for space. Watching the introduction video from Lucy Hawking and Dallas Campbell, we found out why it is so important to be fit and healthy for space. Then we completed an Astronaut Workout – jumping for space, stretching up to measure how tall we are, perfecting our balance and floating postures, as well as steadying our breathing to remain calm in our space suits. The young people used these results to consider and discuss the physical impact on our bodies from being in a weightless environment. Finally, we had a look at nutrition and the sort of food astronauts – past and present – would eat, and designed our own healthy meal in our diaries to be packed up for our mission.

 

Our own space journey began at the beginning of October, on a group camp titled ‘There’s No Place Like Space’ which coincided with the launch of International Space Week.

Imaginations were unleashed on our ‘Area 51’ camp area with its own mission control (camp/office), ISS (kitchen and mess tent) and briefings in the ‘air lock’. Young people became space cadets for the weekend, split into mixed section/mixed age teams named after pods on the ISS (Unity, Harmony, Destiny and Quest), to take part in activities that accumulated points in our own weekend space race.

Our space race challenges included scaling the climbing wall in ‘Planet Exploration’ and decorating souvenir neckerchiefs with space related designs for ‘Space Pennants’, as well as pitching and striking a tent as part of cadets’ survival needs. ‘Ignition’ found the young people building and igniting small fires to be the first team to boil water, and in ‘Rocket Launch’ they explosively launched decorated plastic bottles using a foot pump and hosepipe to create hydro pressure.
‘We Come in Peace’ – interacting with other life-forms at camp fire – was a huge success and a ‘Spaced Out’ quiet area was used by many of the young people under the umbrella canopy of a glowing solar system for a quiet few minutes and planetary discussion. Even our menu was given a celestial makeover with dishes such as Black Hole Breakfast, Gibbous Grub, Moon Rock Meatballs, Radiant Wraps and Cosmic Cocoa.

As with any structured learning, our Scouting programme sets out requirements for all ages, making a balance of activities that not only cover traditional outdoor pursuits but a full range of interests and activities. From learning the names of planets to making a scale model of the solar system, or from knowing what to look for in the night sky to building our own satellite dishes…it’s all part of the Scouting programme.

It’s not all science though; the Principia Mission has given us opportunities to explore humanity itself. Last week we prepared for a Remembrance Sunday parade, taking time to remember the servicemen, women and animals who have given their lives and those who continue to risk theirs. We also reflected on what symbols might be fitting to represent the many humans and animals who went into space, giving their lives to progress the space programme for mankind. We will display these symbols and take time to remember them all during our meeting on 28th January, the NASA Day of Remembrance.

During a ‘Top Secret’ briefing, the group was told of their involvement in the Principia Rocket Science project with RHS Gardening for Schools. We are so excited to know that Tim will be looking after rocket seeds on the ISS that will be making their way to us in Spring 2016, to grow and add our results into the national database.

27th Lincoln Scouts 5We’ll be enhancing our Space Diary use with Principia materials such as Mission X: Train like an Astronaut and Heston Blumenthal’s Design a Space Dinner as resources for diet, healthy eating, exercise, gardening and scientist/experiment badge work, whilst completing the 250 mile Space to Earth challenge during our hikes and expeditions. Our Scout programme links perfectly with the Space Diary chapters to inspire another generation into scouting, science and space exploration.

On camp, we had a ‘Scouts’ Own’ time allocated for reflection and spiritual thought. We talked about Tim, his hard work and perseverance, just two of the many positive qualities that have led to his incredible mission. We also thought about Rick Mastracchio, a NASA engineer whose applications to be an astronaut were repeatedly knocked back. Rick did finally make it to space nine years after his first application, because he refused to give up on his dream. We became confident of opportunities still to come, hopeful that whatever our dreams, whatever we already know, there is always something new to be found if we are brave enough to go and look for it, while recognising that it will take boundless enthusiasm and determination to get us there.

“If you work hard, aim high and follow your dreams then you can achieve what you set out to do.” Tim Peake, November 2015

Anything worth having may not be achieved in one giant leap, but through many small steps. It is reputed to be lonely up in space but we are going to have tremendous company taking our first mission steps, proudly alongside our very own rocket man, Tim Peake, using our Principia Space Diaries.

 

 

Ellie Compton
Beaver Section Leader
27th Lincoln Scout Group

Curved House Kids to publish UK Space Agency-funded Space Diary

By | 6-8 years, Blog, Teaching Resources, Visual Literacy | No Comments

15,000 schoolchildren invited to write and draw their way into space with British European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Tim Peake.

Lucy Hawking and Curved House Kids have launched a new UK Space Agency-funded STEM literacy project to get 500 primary schools involved in ESA astronaut Tim Peake’s mission to the ISS. Tim’s mission, called Principia, blasts off with a launch in December from the Russian spaceport at Baikonur, Kazakhstan. As Tim lifts off, school students will follow his mission by creating a personalised log book, the Principia Mission Space Diary.

Hawking says:

“Through imagination, scientific research and creative writing, we are all going into space with Tim Peake as he makes his journey to the International Space Station.”

With scientific and puzzle-creating support from Professor Peter McOwan and the Centre for Public Engagement at Queen Mary University of London, Lucy Hawking and the team have devised a fully illustrated activity book. The book is packed with activities that inspire children to read, write, draw, research, experiment and problem-solve while strengthening STEM, literacy and visual literacy learning.

In video clips included with the programme, science communicators and experts such as Stephen Hawking, Carol Vorderman, Dallas Campbell will offer their views and insights to help the students complete their monthly mission challenges. These videos are filmed among the world-leading collections at London’s Science Museum.

Curved House Kids publisher Kristen Harrison says:

“The Space Diary is full of visual activities and we hope this creative, interactive approach will encourage more children to get involved in Tim’s mission. Students will be learning about space and science while forging a love of books at the same time.”

The Principia Mission Space Diary is one of nine projects to be awarded funding by the UK Space Agency, as part of a scheme to support educational outreach associated with Tim Peake’s mission.

Jeremy Curtis, Head of Education at the UK Space Agency, says:

“We’re delighted to support another project that brings space and Tim’s mission to creative young people around the UK. We hope that schools and students will get involved and take advantage of this unique opportunity to learn new skills as they follow an astronaut’s adventure.”

Hawking and illustrator Ben Hawkes launch the project today with a school event at Islington Central Library as part of World Space Week. About 60 students from two local primary schools will test the content of the Space Diary during a 90-minute Astronaut Bootcamp.

For other schools wanting to get involved, the website is now open for sign-ups and all primary schools in the UK are invited to register at principiaspacediary.org to receive free copies for up to two classes (60 students). Books will be delivered in the first week of December. Schools will then have access to an online portal releasing new video content, teacher guides and resources for six months worth of activities. This programme is free but places are limited to the first 500 schools to sign up, so be quick!

NOTES TO EDITORS

About Lucy Hawking (www.lucyhawking.com)

Lucy Hawking is a British author who works with scientists to write adventure stories about their research for primary school aged audiences. Lucy’s books, the George series, combine story telling with science and give young readers an exciting and entertaining introduction to the world of science and maths. An Oxford graduate, Lucy started her writing career in journalism and worked for British newspapers, radio and magazines before becoming a published author.  The George series of books is published in over 40 languages and is now in production as an animated television series with DHX Media. Lucy has been recognised for her work in science and education with several awards – she won the Sappio Prize for Popularizing Science in Rome 2008 and the UNSW Medal 2015 for Science Communication and was awarded a Doctorate in Science by Queen Mary University of London in July 2015. Lucy has travelled the world giving talks about science to young audiences. She has frequently featured on television and radio, both as a subject and as a interviewer. Lucy is a trustee of the Autism Research Foundation, supporting scientific research into the condition of autism.

About Curved House Kids (www.curvedhousekids.com)

Curved House Kids has a simple mission: improve literacy levels among digital-native children by creating books that reflect the world these children are entering– a world that is visual, interactive and full of tools that allow individuals to create. All of the Curved House Kids books and workshops empower children to make their own books – in print, digitally or both, and in doing so they nurture the instinctive visual literacy skills that digital native children possess. Making children part of the creative process ensures that they form a strong bond with books and an understanding for how reading, writing and drawing can positively impact their lives. Curved House Kids founder Kristen Harrison is a former Penguin editor who now runs publishing and design agency The Curved House, alongside Curved House Kids. She sits on the board of the International Visual Literacy Association and holds a Masters in Communications.

About Peter McOwan (QMUL)

Peter McOwan is a Professor of Computer Science at Queen Mary University of London and Vice Principal (VP) for Public Engagement. His research interests are in human perception, artificial intelligence and robotics. He is a space enthusiast and amateur magician and has used these talents successfully in a number of outreach projects, from our-space.org which charts computer games developer Richard Garriott’s adventures in space, to The Manual of Mathematical Magic, where he teaches fundamental mathematical and computing  principles through simple magic trick. He is also the co-founder of the innovative cs4fn project (cs4fn.org) and holds a HEA National Teaching Fellowship award. Peter was also awarded the IET Mountbatten Medal in 2011 for his work in public engagement. In his role as VP he also oversees and champions all the College’s outreach activities created the College’s Centre for Public Engagement.

About Principia (principia.org.uk)

Astronaut Tim Peake will begin his five-month mission on the International Space Station in December 2015, becoming the first British ESA astronaut to visit the station. His mission is called ‘Principia’ and together with the UKSA and ESA, Tim has a number of educational outreach activities associated with the mission, designed to get children and young people engaged in STEM learning.

Tim will be involved in many experiments aboard the ISS during his mission. Research in space crosses many different subjects – the unique environment of the ISS offers a great opportunity to investigate novel materials, life in space, the human body, fluid physics, new technologies and many other things. Through the Principia educational activities, students have the opportunity to engage in a rage of related activities.

About UK Space Agency (http://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/uk-space-agency)

The UK Space Agency is at the heart of UK efforts to explore and benefit from space. It is responsible for all strategic decisions on the UK civil space programme and provides a clear, single voice for UK space ambitions.

The Agency is responsible for ensuring that the UK retains and grows a strategic capability in the space-based systems, technologies, science and applications. It leads the UK’s civil space programme in order to win sustainable economic growth, secure new scientific knowledge and provide benefits to all citizens.

The UK Space Agency

  • Co-ordinates UK civil space activity
  • Encourages academic research
  • Supports the UK space industry
  • Raises the profile of UK space activities at home and abroad
  • Increases understanding of space science and its practical benefits
  • Inspires our next generation of UK scientists and engineers
  • Licences the launch and operation of UK spacecraft
  • Promotes co-operation and participation in the European Space programme

About the European Space Agency (www.esa.int)

The European Space Agency (ESA) provides Europe’s gateway to space.

ESA is an intergovernmental organisation, created in 1975, with the mission to shape the development of Europe’s space capability and ensure that investment in space delivers benefits to the citizens of Europe and the world.

ESA has 21 Member States: Austria, Belgium, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, of whom 19 are Member States of the EU.

One other Member State of the EU, Hungary, has signed the Accession Agreement to the ESA Convention and, upon ratification, will soon become the 22nd ESA Member State.

ESA has established formal cooperation with seven other Member States of the EU.

Canada takes part in some ESA programmes under a Cooperation Agreement. ESA is also working with the EU on implementing the Galileo and Copernicus programmes.

By coordinating the financial and intellectual resources of its members, ESA can undertake programmes and activities far beyond the scope of any single European country.

ESA develops the launchers, spacecraft and ground facilities needed to keep Europe at the forefront of global space activities. Today, it develops and launches satellites for Earth observation, navigation, telecommunications and astronomy, sends probes to the far reaches of the Solar System and cooperates in the human exploration of space.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION AND ENQUIRIES

Curved House Kids
Kristen Harrison (Publisher)
Mob +44 7594 262 688 or +49 176 876 02770
Email: kristen@thecurvedhouse.com
@curvedhousekids

Queen Mary University of London
Sian Halkyard
Head of Public Relations
Email: s.halkyard@qmul.ac.uk

UK Space Agency
Julia Short
Press Officer
Tel 01793 41 8069
Mob 07770 276 721
Email: Julia.short@ukspaceagency.bis.gsi.gov.uk

visual literacy in the classroom curved house kids house of illustration

Visual Literacy in the Classroom: Working with hearing impaired children

By | Blog, Teaching Resources, Visual Literacy | No Comments

Canada’s Global News has just published a wonderful story about the use of visual literacy in a Candadian school, to help hearing impaired students with their literacy learning. Joana Weber, the teacher who implemented the programme, writes of the significant improvements in literacy among her group and also of a remarkable increase in confidence and self esteem. Weber notes the benefits of a holistic approach to literacy learning:

“Literacy is connected to language. Language is connected to thought and experience, so I think that introducing things like drama, like art and drawing, to engage students and engage communication can only have a positive impact on literacy.”

It is this very approach that guides our visual literacy workshops. Much like Weber, we aim to give student a full experience of language, not just an education about language. We work on core literacy learning while always mixing this with visual literacy and some kind of creative output, ensuring that all kids have the chance to create something they can be proud of. As practicing publishers, artists and writers we also bring our day-to-day professional experience into schools to give students insights into where well-rounded literacy skills can lead to.

Weber’s story is the kind that inspires us – we hope it inspires you too.

Read the full article on the Global News website

Photo courtesy of House of Illustration, taken as part of our collaborative project Our Cally Stories.

Can you make this face happy? A visual literacy exercise for everyone

By | 4-6 years, 6-8 years, 8+ years, Blog, Teaching Resources, Visual Literacy, Worksheets | No Comments

When we teach visual literacy we don’t just teach how to ‘read’ and interpret images, we also explore the interpretation of other visual references. One of these is facial expression and, in particular, understanding emotion. Being able to interpret an emotion, and knowing how to express different emotions, are vital to our interactions with the world. This is a quick exercise to try yourself.

Download and print the worksheet below.

Try to turn this face into a happy face.

What changes will you make to change it’s mood? Are there small changes that can make a big difference? Can you completely reinvent the face? Tweet us a picture to @curvedhousekids or post it to our Facebook page, we’d love to see what you make of it.

Visual Literacy Exercise

Click to download PDF

 

 

world book day banner

Make Your Own Book for World Book Day 2014

By | Blog, Events, Teaching Resources, Worksheets | No Comments

World Book Day 2014 LogoHey, in case you didn’t know, this Thursday, 6th March, is World Book Day and that makes this week World Book Week. Woohoo! What could be better than a week long bonanza of books and stories. How are you celebrating World Book Day? We’re celebrating by visiting some schools, hanging out with awesome kids and by sharing some of our super dooper make-your-own books with you.

Illustrate your own book for World Book Day!

Every day this week we will release a page from our book Pirate Power, written by Kitty Healy. Kitty is a great writer but not the best illustrator, so we need lots of awesome, creative kids to do the drawings.

Download, print and scribble every day and on Friday you will have a complete book of your very own. If you want to display your fine work in our online gallery you can send us a pic or upload it directly to: http://curvedhousekids.com/upload-your-book/.

Get scribbling!

DAY ONE

Click to download the first page of your book

World Book Day 2014 Pirates

DAY TWO

Click the image below to download the second page of your book!

world book day pirate power by curved house kids

DAY THREE

Wow, we’re halfway there! Click the image below to download the third page of your book!

Make your own book world book day 2014

DAY FOUR

Come ‘ere me pirate pals, happy World Book Day! Click the image below to download the last page of you book and tomorrow you can download the cover to complete your make-your-own book for World Book Day.

world book day 2014 activity curved house kids

DAY FIVE

You’re nearly there! Now you just need to illustrate your cover, dedicate your book to someone special and then you’re done. Congratulations pals, what an amazing achievement to finish your very own book! Click the image below to download your cover.

WorldBookDay2014_CoverNew_Page_1

Visit the awesome World Book Day 2014 website
Primary Literacy Workshops Curved House Kids Make Your Own Books

Reading Images: An introduction to visual literacy

By | Advice for Parents, Blog, Events, Teaching Resources, Visual Literacy | No Comments

“Images are all around us, and the ability to interpret them meaningfully is a vital skill for students to learn.”
– Melissa Thibault and David Walbert, authors of Reading images: an introduction to visual literacy.

Have you heard of “visual literacy”? If you’re a parent or teacher struggling to engage your kids with learning, maybe this is something that can unlock things for you (and for them!). It has worked for us.

The Curved House Kids series of books is based on the belief that some kids are visual learners – they see the world in pictures so by providing books without words we invite them to understand how to interpret images and then use language to express what they see and understand. Similarly, by providing books without pictures we allow kids to reinforce their comprehension and vocabulary by drawing what they read. They are etching knowledge into their brains AND having fun at the same time! This is a visual literacy technique to teach children to read, write and use their imaginations but there are many other ways to use visual literacy in the home or in schools.

If you’re interested in learning more about it and want to try some visual literacy techniques, LEARN NC (a program of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Education in the US), has put together a good primer on the topic, aimed at educators of students from Kindergarten through 12th Grade (early years through secondary school in the UK). The overview links to a variety of lesson plans on the subject, tagged to note the appropriate grade level for each lesson.

Click here to visit the Learn NC website for lesson plans and other great resources…