earth day earth hero

Earth Day 2017!

By | 4-6 years, 6-8 years, 8+ years, Blog, Earth Hero

Earth Day has arrived! To help you celebrate, we’ve put together a list of our favourite Earth-related experiments and activities for your Earth Heroes. We can’t wait to see how you celebrate Earth Day. Don’t forget to use #EarthDay and #EarthHero on Facebook and Twitter, so we can see what you get up to!

KNOW YOUR PLANTS

You don’t have to travel far to become an Earth Hero. Just take a wander through your backyard or nearby park to get started. Here are few activities involving plants, flowers and leaves found around your neighbourhood. The can encourage investigation, exploration, identification and analysis which can easily be adapted for different age levels. Discuss colours and shapes with younger children, and with older children utilise the internet and look up the names of plants you find and discover why they might be growing in your area. Which animals benefit from them?

Make fossils from leaves and flowers using clay

Leaf prints on paper or fabric

Create nature dioramas

GARDENING AT HOME

Getting children involved in gardening is a hands-on way to teach them about the lifecycle of plants. You don’t need a back yard to do this! There are loads of ways you can grow a garden inside using recyclables from your rubbish bin.  Read this useful resource on how to garden indoors, if you get stuck!

Egg Carton greenhouses

Grow your own celery

ANIMAL WATCH

Got an aspiring David Attenborough in your household? Birds, butterflies and worms are three of the most common animals you’ll see looking out your windows. Why not make a bird or butterfly feeder and create a log of who comes to visit? Chart which birds or butterflies are the most frequent visitors. Note: If you can’t find any pinecones, use an apple. It’s biodegradable and good for birds!

Pinecone bird feeders

Sugar water butterfly feeders

Earthworm hotel

RECYCLING

Earth Day is a good time to bring up important issues surrounding waste. Start a recycling box at home, sort through your wardrobes and toy boxes and donate old or unused items to charity. Here is some great information on how you can explain the importance of recycling and upcycling to kids.

Composting at home

Make your own paper

Make a robot

Recycle Now also has a fun, interactive game to teach kids about recycling. Play it here.

 


Please remember that adult supervision is advised on all these activities.

 

 

 

 

Dyslexia

A Runthrough My Dyslexia

By | 4-6 years, 6-8 years, 8+ years, Advice for Parents, Blog, Visual Literacy

 

Valeria De La Vega talks about her experiences of growing up with Dyslexia in Colombia and how she overcame the challenges of this reading disorder.

In the first grade I had an activity where we had to go around tables and read a paragraph out of a book. Once you finished it you could move on to the next one. I remember just staring at these pages and their illustrations and not being able to understand the words while my classmates passed by me on to the next table. So instead of trying I pretended to know what was going on and imitated what my friends did. This sort of thing happened a lot in primary school. I didn’t participate much, I got nervous every time I had to read out loud and I loved going to the nurse’s office just because it would get me out of class.

The Challenge of Reading Aloud

This is how my dyslexic brain works now when I have to read out loud, or better yet my thought process. Okay I can do this, I’ll just read it before so I don’t make a fool of myself. Starting now, alright these words I can read, I know them and this is going pretty smoothly, oh long word now, it’s okay I know it… continuing ugh made a little mistake with that one, back on track… oh no this next word I don’t know it I’ll read it a bit slowly but not too slow so people don’t notice it, oops said the wrong word, this time I said it right. Okay Vale keep up, I just stumbled on some other words and made up a word again but it’s okay it’s going alright and now it’s over, success.

It’s not like I’m stumbling across every word I read, or that it takes me twice the amount of time to read out loud. Sometimes when I don’t recognise a word or if it’s too long I have to stop and sound out the letters. This leads to a slower reading time and in some cases mistakes because my brain doesn’t sound them out properly or it decides that it’s another word. This happens more frequently to me than to normal readers. Reading silently is something that I prefer, nobody is looking at me, I can read at my own pace and I make fewer mistakes because I feel no pressure. Unless it’s like when I was in school and I had to read in pairs. The other person would want to turn the page and I wasn’t at the end yet so I felt hurried, had to run through the sentences and not enjoy it at all.

When I was younger I had trouble recognising letters, I would confuse b-d a-q-p c-o l-i r-t, and I would stumble more when reading. That lead me to ask more questions, a thing that is normal among children I think, but in my case curiosity was also accompanied by a break. Recognising letters wasn’t my only problem, once I solved that I still had other reading difficulties.

For me reading was a tedious task and it took me longer to learn how to do it than it did to my classmates. When having to read out loud in the classroom I would see which was the passage that I had to read before so I would do it just like my classmates did. This way I wouldn’t stumble or have the others read the word correctly on top of me if I took too long.

The Invisible Disability  

I had a lot of help growing up, and I didn’t realise that I had a problem. I had to go to special-ed classes in school, do extra homework, went to after school tutorials and I even had reading classes during vacations. However, I think that there is an age where you don’t question why you have to do some things and you just do them because it’s part of a routine. Or you don’t really notice that you are struggling with some things because you just find it normal until it fades away. So when I had to do all of this I found it normal, unless I was lazy or I saw that my siblings were playing while I had to work, and that’s when it started to bother me. On the other hand, my mom always said I was special, but I thought she meant it as a quality I had because of my personality, while my sisters who were a bit older did know that I struggled. One of them loved to help me out, showed me different ways to succeed with creative ideas for school, and something about the way she explained things to me made it all more simple.

There were various exercises that I had to do along the years that I had help. Sometimes my teacher and I read a text in unison, in other cases I would have to read a paragraph out loud and start again every time I made a mistake (an exercise that could be very frustrating). There were times when I did exercises with audio, for example writing down the lyrics of a song, listening to an audio and writing down the main idea or learning how to take notes from dictations or things I heard. There were other ones that had to do with identifying differences between letters and having to write them properly, as well as identifying different shapes and cataloguing them with colour. Images played an important role. With them I did exercises like cross matching vocabulary to pictures or describing what was happening in sequences that I saw. Since it wasn’t only about learning to read it was about comprehension as well I learned how to identify the main idea in a paragraph and its supporting ones as well.

This was a process that took various years until I got a hang of it. Up until the third grade going to the nurse was a hobby for me to skip classes. Everyday I would say to my teachers that my stomach or my head hurt, of course they knew that it wasn’t true but off to the nurse I went. There she would make me have some tea and because of that I’ve developed a dislike for it now. In classes I would get easily distracted and just go to imaginary worlds. I loved story time when my teachers read out loud to us. So I wanted to be a writer, but when someone told me that in order to be a writer I had to read a book per week I thought that I couldn’t do it and I didn’t want to anymore. But little by little I started getting into books, stories became more captivating and all the extra work I had done was starting to pay off. It wasn’t hard to read anymore.

Overcoming My Dyslexia

Some people think that dyslexic people are dumb and I can assure you we are not. Albert Einstein, Andy Warhol, John Lennon, Walt Disney and F. Scott Fitzgerald were all dyslexic and they were brilliant. Now I’m not saying that I’m anything like them, only that dyslexia doesn’t mean not being intelligent. I had a switch go on in my head when I finished primary school. I decided that I wanted to be one of the best and so I paid attention, I read, I studied hard and even graduated second best in my class. I think few people from my school know that I was dyslexic because it’s not something that I talk too much about or that showed after primary.

In university I started studying Communications and I wanted to go into publishing. However, I was scared because spelling in Spanish wasn’t something that I had mastered. Even though it’s my first language I was always better at English because I preferred reading in this language and it doesn’t have accents like Spanish does. I took a copyediting class and had a talk with my professor and told her about my fears and her words encouraged me. She told me that she is also dyslexic and she is a great copy editor, so I said to myself well if she can do it so can I, and I did.

How to Help Someone with Dyslexia

Dyslexia can subtly affect you and lower your self esteem, it can make you shy and not want to shine and it can make you feel slow. Once you get a hang of it there is nothing you can’t do, your brain just works differently. I believe that there is nothing bad with that. It is something that I will always have and struggle a bit with but from my experience it won’t impair you to do what you want. I can read out loud but it’s something that if I can avoid it I will, on the other hand I love speaking in public, doing speeches and presentations. So it’s not a thing about stage fright, it’s about feeling confident in what I can do in front of others.

If you know anybody with dyslexia it’s important to encourage them and not make them feel dumb. Since I can only talk about my experience and I got help when I was young I believe that the earlier you start getting help the better, but that shouldn’t stop you from trying if you are older. Visual learning is another way to get information through and I’ve found that it is very effective, words matter but so do images. A combination of both of these is a great approach towards learning for anybody, especially for dyslexic people who take longer to decode words, and you can get tired of working with letters again and again. Also, remember that every case is different and what worked for me could work differently for someone else and this is why it’s important to see what works out for each one and develop a strategy from that.

I do believe that there have to be different approaches to reading. There should be books made that can engage those who have difficulties with them, and the earlier it starts the better. I’ve seen that there are typographers that have been developing typefaces (fonts) specially made for dyslexic people that make it easier for us to recognise each character, and I think this is wonderful. What in my opinion is a great approach for reading is to patiently give approachable stories to children and let them discover them little by little, encourage their own taste in reading in whichever genre they prefer, they’ll get where they need to get in their own time, but do help out. For example, I loved stories and when I read to my little brother I didn’t feel any pressure to get it right. Because he was three years younger than me, he enjoyed the stories as much as I did and we both loved the images that they had. Having this in mind get books that interact with kids, but also don’t forget that they are kids and need time to have fun, too much help can lead to rejection. I had great teachers that were caring and we took time out to play and cook so I enjoyed going to my extra classes. My mum celebrated my successes and I loved it, it made me feel encouraged, but she didn’t do this all my childhood which I think is great because I didn’t want to get great grades for a prize, I wanted to do it for myself. I now enjoy reading and want to work with books. I’m happy dyslexia didn’t ruin this for me but I’m also happy to be dyslexic because it helped me develop a different approach to reading and a passion for books.

Valeria De La Vega just finished her undergraduate degree in Communications with an Emphasis in Publishing and Multimedia at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá, Colombia. She is currently working at the Corona Foundation a non-profit organisation that works towards education in Colombia.

The Space Diary is back!

By | 6-8 years, 8+ years, Principia Space Diary, Teaching Resources

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/).

Tim Peake

Tim Peake to tour UK!

By | 4-6 years, 6-8 years, Events, News, Principia Space Diary

Tim Peake

 

Tim Peake is heading off on his post-flight tour of the UK this month, visiting all four UK national capitals along with Leicester, Manchester, Salford and Glasgow. NASA astronaut and crewmate Tim Kopra will join Tim for the visits to Edinburgh, Belfast and London.

Tim will be giving presentations at each city, giving his first-hand account about life onboard the ISS and talking about the important science experiments he conducted during his mission.

As part of Tim’s Principia mission, the UK Space Agency has invested £3 million in the biggest education and outreach initiative ever undertaken for an ESA astronaut. Over a million young people have taken part including over 60,000 UK school children that participated in our Space Diary programme!

Schedule:

Cardiff: 13 October 2016

Leicester: 14 October 2016

Manchester: 15 October 2016

Glasgow: 16 October

Edinburgh: 17 October

Belfast: 18 October

London: 19 October

Find out further information on the venues and times here.

 

 

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

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

 

Tim Peake Astronaut #spacediary

Where to Watch ESA Astronaut Tim Peake Return to Earth

By | 4-6 years, 6-8 years, 8+ years, Blog, Events, Principia Space Diary
Saturday 18th June is the big day when Tim Peake returns to Earth after six months on the International Space Station. Tim will return in a Soyuz capsule, along with crewmates Yuri Malenchenko and Tim Kopra. He’s due to land in Kazakhstan at 10.15am BST.
185
Days in Space

Watch the Soyuz undocking, re-entry and landing LIVE

Coverage starts at 4.00am BST on Saturday 18th June. Watch all the key events, from the time Tim enters to Soyuz capsule until he reaches Earth. 

Watch Tim Peake's return live on ESA TV Watch Tim Peake return live on NASA TV

Photo: ESA/NASA

 

Tim Peake in Spacesuit ready for return to earth

When to tune in (BST)

Your quick guide to re-entry timeline shown in British Summer Time (GMT+1)


04:00   Farewell and hatch closing. Crew members will then change into their Sokul spacesuits.


06:15    Soyuz capsule undocks from the ISS.


09:15    Deorbit burn to place Soyuz capsule on its re-entry trajectory.


09:49    Soyuz capsule separates from the orbital module and the heat shield peels away layer by layer.


10:00    Parachutes deploy.


10:15     Soft Landing Engines are fired and the Soyuz capsule lands.


Post-landing schedule (BST)

On landing, the recovery team will help Tim and his crewmates from the capsule. The astronauts will then undergo medical checks.


12:45                  Crew will fly in helicopters to Karaganda airport.


14:15-14:45      Crew arrives at Karaganda airport for a welcome ceremony, followed by a press conference.


15:00-16:00    Tim Peake will fly to the European Astronaut Centre in Cologne.[/two_thirds_last]

Landing Parties

Celebrate Tim Peake’s return on Saturday June 18th at one of these exciting events!


 London Science Museum (free event)


 National Space Centre (£20-25)


 Aberdeen Science Centre (£4.50-5.75)


 Cambridge Science Centre (£2.50-3.50)


 Glasgow Science Centre (£9-11)


 Winchester Science Centre and Planetarium (£8.40-12)


Having your own Landing Party?

Simonside School's Space Diary Apprentices!

Good luck Tim, from Simonside School’s Space Diary Apprentices!

If you’re celebrating Tim Peake’s return we would love to see what you get up to!  Send us your photos via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram and use the #spacediary to make sure we see them! You’ll appear in our Mission Feed alongside all the awesome schools who have been doing their Space Diaries and Principia-related activities. You can also email us at info@curvedhousekids.com. Remember to get parental/guardian permission before you post photos of your students. If you can’t get permissions we’d love to see pictures of their books!

From all of us at Space Diary Headquarters, safe journey back to Earth, Tim Peake, and thanks for sharing your mission with us! #WelcomeHomeTim

Bologna Book Fair

Curved House Kids goes to Bologna Book Fair!

By | 4-6 years, 6-8 years, 8+ years, Blog, Events, News

Going to Bologna I didn’t know what to expect. I knew of course children’s books and illustrators but I never imagined the magnitude of the fair. Before this I had only been in my country’s (Colombia) biggest fair the Bogotá Book Fair (Filbo) and in Canada I went to the Toronto Book Fair, both wonderful but very different in size and purpose.

When Kristen and I arrived we immediately felt the joyful energy of this Italian city and were surprised to see how dog-friendly it is. As we walked through it, in less than an hour, we spotted 40 dogs. We knew that this was the place to be.

At the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, creative minds get to show their work and their enthusiasm for their craft. Walking through the stands, we viewed books that have been published all over the world. Where the fair began there were halls filled with the artworks of the selected illustrators, each of them with their own distinguishing style. Germany as the country of honour had a special hall exhibiting their illustrators. Work from this country demonstrated different techniques, from laser cut to fine drawings in black and white, or other illustrations filled with elements and a variety of colors.

Hongchen Yu, China BCBF

Tsutomu Fujishima, Japan BCBF

Michiko Chapuis, Japan BCBF

The fair was huge and I had never been in one of this scale. It had stands for every country; sometimes publishers from a same nationality shared one but in most cases they had their own. As we explored the hallways of the Latin American countries, Chile caught our attention. They produce wonderfully crafted books with talented illustrators, as well as great ideas. The most wonderful surprise was meeting Argentinian publisher Diego Bianki from Pequeño editor, who publishes from the heart and has won prizes at the fair this year and last. Talking to him we saw the passion he has for his craft, which is clear in his books like Tree Book Tree. This is an amazing book that can be planted and a tree will grow out of it. To promote it, he used the motto: books come from trees, today a tree comes from a book.

chomp, chrostpoh niemann

There were also panels about a variety of topics. We had the chance to listen to some about enriched books and interactive book apps, and how this market has to work to make business model strategies get attention for what they are doing. Now publishers are also creating books with augmented reality. This is a new concept of books that isn’t being used in Colombia but it is a worthy tool that we should be pursuing and discovering. Its possibilities are endless.

The panels weren’t only about technology, and I was especially moved by one about refugees and children’s books. Panelists talked about how stories can help children understand why people leave their countries to live somewhere else and how this feels. It’s not just about understanding but about feeling and evoking emotion. This way real empathy is created and children can start building a better understanding with others. I left this panel with the feeling that these stories are needed all over the world and that they are helpful in all types of environments.

After the panels, we met Verena Pausder from Fox and Sheep, and illustrator Christoph Niemann who had great ideas and advice for Kristen.
I can’t end this blog without mentioning the lovely publishers from Ireland we met who adopted us into their group. They not only make amazing books and have creative initiatives, such as the
book clinic, but also have such warm hearts and are very friendly. They truly made this trip to Bologna even better. Children’s Books Ireland, O’Brien Press and Little Island now have a special place in our hearts.
Bologna Book Fair BCBF

Valeria De La Vega is a final year student at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana where she is studying Communications with an emphasis in Publishing. She is interning at the Curved House Kids to learn about publishing children’s books, help translate the books to Spanish and to assist with the development of visual literacy resources.

The Bumpy Road to Reading Nirvana

By | 6-8 years, 8+ years, Advice for Parents, Blog, Visual Literacy

It’s International Children’s Book Day on 2nd April 2016 and we at The Curved House are reflecting on how we developed our love of books…

I would love to boast that I was a prodigious childhood reader, ticking-off The Wind in the Willows aged 4. I was not that. I loved a good picture book, Katie Morag and the Tiresome Ted being one of the best. But when it came to attempting chapter books, I had no interest.

I now wonder whether it simply came down to taste. I won’t blow my own trumpet and claim I just wasn’t being challenged – it felt very challenging! – but I felt very keenly the effect of being educated using strict reading levels. The alternatives, provided by my very well meaning Mum, were painfully fun, zany, and garish which was even worse. I could count on my fingers the number of books I finished between the ages of 6 and 12, outside of school.

Written word purists might disapprove but audiobooks were what pulled me back in. The discovery of Stephen Fry’s rendition of Harry Potter and the fully dramatised (but unabridged!) production of Philip Pullman’s Northern Lights were completely magical. And suddenly I saw the point in reading again.

One of the most important things I’m discovering at The Curved House is the universal importance of visual literacy. It’s becoming clearer that children learn and develop in completely different ways. This has encouraged me to reconsider my critical and self conscious attitude about the way I got into reading, that there is something wrong, or easy, about audiobooks.  

Audiobooks are an amazing format in themselves and they are also a potent gateway drug into the world of reading! For the uninitiated: I recommend anything Philip Pullman has ever recorded!

Rosie Cunningham is a graduate of MLitt Publishing Studies at the University of Stirling. During a condensed and highly productive four week work placement at The Curved House in Berlin, Rosie authored and project managed a Curved House Quick Guide, conducted extensive marketing and picture research, and assisted with editing and proofreading. She’s now returned to Edinburgh to work for Picture Hooks Illustration Agency to pursue her career in other areas of publishing.  We wish her all the best!

 

British Science Week

Add Space to your Science Week!

By | 4-6 years, 6-8 years, 8+ years, Blog, Principia Space Diary

British Science Week has arrived! To help you celebrate, we’ve put together a list of our favourite space-related experiments for your Space Apprentices. We can’t wait to see how you celebrate Science Week. Don’t forget to use #spacediary on Facebook and Twitter, so your photos appear on our Mission Feed.

Astronomy

This activity will need some adult supervision to assist with cutting and construction.

Chapter 3 of the Space Diary explores things Tim Peake might see from the ISS. He has a very special view of space! From Earth, we can’t see the things in our solar system quite as well, especially if we live in the city. Depending on where you live, you might be able to see the constellation called Ursa Major, also known as the ‘Big Dipper’, if the sky is very dark. This is where a galaxy called the Pinwheel Galaxy is.

But you can build your own Pinwheel Galaxy pinwheel, with the help of NASA. You’ll need a colour copy of the Pinwheel Galaxy printout (available here), a pipe cleaner, some wooden chopsticks or a popsicle stick, some scissors and a hole punch. For detailed instructions on how to make your Pinwheel Galaxy pinwheel, head here.

Engineering for space

This activity is more suitable for older children. It will need adult assistance and supervision, and requires some items which you may not have at home or school.

To get an astronaut safely into space, it takes a big team of clever engineers to design and build a spacecraft, and an even bigger team to co-ordinate blast-off. If you watch the launch of Tim’s Principia Mission, you can see the power needed to shoot a heavy spacecraft through Earth’s atmosphere and into outer space. Watch a clip of Tim’s launch below.

You can build and launch your own spacecraft, with the help of an adult. There might be a few things – like a film canister and antacid tablets – which you don’t have at home or school, so make sure you talk to an adult or teacher beforehand to help you plan your activity.

Details of how to build and launch your own Bubble-Powered Rocket ship are on the NASA website here.

Astrogeology

Younger children will need some assistance with this experiment. It can be messy, so make sure your Space Apprentices have an appropriate place to work!

Planetary geology is an important space science. Geologists examine the structures and surfaces of planets, their volcanoes, moons and the impact of craters on them. Geologists study samples collected during space missions, as well as meteorites that have fallen to Earth, to learn more about the planets in our solar system.

While there are lots of planets in our solar system with volcanoes, astrogeologists are particularly interested in those with active volcanoes, since this is something those planets have in common with Earth. The moons of Jupiter, Saturn and Neptune all have active volcanoes.

You can make your own volcano with everyday items you have at home. Ask an adult to help you create your very own space volcano, by following the instructions here.

Meteorology

Adult supervision is important for this experiment, because it uses boiling water.

Space Apprentices who have researched our solar system will know that the weather on other planets is very different to the weather on Earth. Some planets have extreme solar winds; others have dust storms and hurricanes. Some planets – like Venus – have a thick layer of cloud, which traps heat and creates a greenhouse effect.

You can make your own cloud in a jar with just a few household items. You will need to use hot water in this activity, so it’s important that an adult helps you. By making your own cloud, you can witness firsthand what happens to water as it heats and cools. Next time you look up and the sky and see dark grey rain clouds or fluffy white ones, you’ll be able to tell your friends what’s going on above your head!

To learn how to make a cloud, follow the instructions here.

Biology

Younger children will need some help with this experiment, and all young scientists will need a space where they can make some mess with paint and soil.

Biologists are essential when it comes to space research. Not only do they look at what happens to the human body in space, they also study what happens to plants. This is important because scientists are investigating growing food in space.

There are lots of different challenges associated with growing food in space, because of the lack of soil, direct light, oxygen and gravity. You can explore what happens to plants when their light source is restricted, using a fun phototropism experiment. Plan ahead, because you need to paint some cardboard and wait for it to dry before you can go to the next step. You might like to build your experiment over a few days.

To build your phototropism experiment, click here.

Space Apprentices Reach the Halfway Mark!

By | 4-6 years, 6-8 years, 8+ years, Blog, Principia Space Diary
By the children of the Gardening Club at Hillmead Primary School, Bishop’s Stortford, Herts

When we first heard that we were amongst the schools selected to take part in the Rocket Science RHS for Gardening Campaign, to grow seeds that have been orbiting the Earth for six months, we were really excited and told our local newspaper about it. We even received a tweet from Tim Peake!

We did watch Tim’s rocket launch and felt for him flying out into space. Everyone was glad he made it ok.

space diary
While waiting for the seeds to be sent to us, we got busy with our space apprenticeship through the Curved House Kids Space Diaries. We have explored how tall we would grow in space, how it would feel to float in microgravity and we have learnt to say ‘hello’ in four different languages! It was fun creating our own spacesuit, especially as most of us made sure there was a ‘nappy’ involved! Breaking the code was a tricky one but our helpful grown-ups gave us some clues, so we could decode Mrs Peake’s message finally.

space diary
space diary

It has been exciting learning about the planets and their special features. It seems like a good idea to take an umbrella to Neptune – if we ever get there! We have also created our own ISS and Soyuz rockets and imagined ourselves flying out into space.

Now that Scott Kelly has brought the rocket seeds back to Earth, preparations have begun at the gardening club for the great experiment. Halfway through the Space Diary, we are really looking forward to learning more about space and the life of an astronaut. Our space apprenticeship has been fun so far!

Dream Giver by Morgan (Y6)

By | 4-6 years, 6-8 years, Blog

Dream Giver by Morgan (Y6) at Simonside School

Simonside SchoolAn eerie full moon in an abandoned town peered across the sky. The ebony, moonlit sky was scattered with numerous stars that periodically blinked. They shone over the roof tops of the town which was surrounded with a deafening silence. Cricket chirps were the only noise that filled the air. Nestled in the heart of the town stood an ancient stone church which towered proudly over the other buildings. As the wind blew in the town where there was no-one to be seen, washing clung to the line for several more hours; a sign that people had fled.

In the pitch black neighbourhood only one little light infiltrated the darkness from one lonely window…

Suddenly, in one swift motion a moth-like creature descended upon 2655 Kensington Avenue. Hesitantly, the intriguing creature grasped the edge of the shutters with his long, bony fingers. As he took a step forward he pushed the door ajar.

Noticing the sleeping children he quietly consulted with his notebook which he kept in his back pocket. As he checked the address he was relieved to know he had reached his destination.

The deprived young children were snoring while sleeping contently, despite the absence of their parents. As the little orphanage boy slept peacefully in his checkered bed, the creature perched upon the ledge. He entered the old, wooden building peering around the children that surrounded the room.

The passage light was shining through their open, mahogany door. It was decided that the
children were scared of the dark and needed to feel safe, so this was the best action.

Before very long, the visitor fluttered down and lay his hessian bag on a child’s bed. His eyes widened as he peered inside, with the light shining on his face. As he made his way to the first six-year-old child, he took out a glimmering egg an cracked it open.

Simonside School
Simonside School

Inside every egg was a dream that belongs to each and every child. It was quite unclear exactly as to what or who he was. He poured a part of the magical insides onto a little pair of ballet shoes which lay at the bottom of a deprived young girl’s bed. With one splash of magic the shoes turned bright pink and a little dancer started dancing across her bed. She smiled contently as she lay there in peace; a feeling that influenced her dream.

As he moved on a small boy stirred and colourful explosion set off. An egg had crashed…

Beams of light filled the room as swirls of stars surrounded the astronaut. As the swirls increased in speed the young space cadet was swallowed by a hungry vortex.

Lying in a ball on the dusty earth, the boy awoke and examined his new surroundings. The rainforest! Butterflies gathered and fluttered sound his head as a little one floated and silently landed on his finger. Suddenly he noticed something out of the corner of his eye. A little rock had been nudged. Carefully he placed it into the right position.

The light climbed and ominous clouds gathered as the darkness descended. As time went on he walked further into the forest. Remnants of an Aztec tribe were littered around. An old skeleton was perched against a rock; an indication that there had been no life for some time.

A piercing pair of narrow slithers of lime green light penetrated the darkness. Suddenly a ferocious growl thundered from within a cave which ricocheted from every surface. Panicking, the boy froze instantly to the spot.

Simonside School

Hesitantly he backed away before turning to run. He ran and he ran and he ran. Faster, harder, quicker. The dust clouds travelled behind him. The beast continued to stalk him. His fate was sealed; he was bound to die.

All of a sudden bombing eggs started to gather around the beast. Gnarly roots started wrapping around eventually turned it into a trap.

With his arms covering his face sweat dripped down his brow. He was safe. With a jolt he awoke from his dream. A firefly noise was heard as it passed. He looked at the open window with wide eyes … What was it?

This gripping tale was written by Morgan from Simonside Primary School and we absolutely had to post it because we were enthralled from the first sentence! Thank you to Miss Lisa Pegman and Morgan for sharing this excellent piece of creative writing with us. Keep up the good work!

Principia Space Diary Highlights

By | 4-6 years, 6-8 years, 8+ years, Blog, Kids Gallery, Principia Space Diary, Uncategorized | No Comments

Here’s a small selection of some of our favourite pics from the Space Diary programme. We’d like to thank all the teachers, schools, parents and guardians for participating by using the #spacediary hashtag on Twitter, it makes us incredibly happy to see all the kids having so much fun with their Space Diaries! If you would like to be featured or see how other schools and groups are using their Space Diaries simply tweet us @CurvedHouseKids and use the hashtag #spacediary. You can also view more images from the project over on on our Mission Feed!

Y3 students countdown to Principia launch!

By | 4-6 years, 6-8 years, Blog, News, Teaching Resources, Visual Literacy
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

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