Lucy Hawking and Curved House Kids today launch Mars Diary, an ambitious new primary science programme, in partnership with the UK Space Agency, that aims to get 60,000 British schoolchildren involved in the UK’s ExoMars mission and other human and robotic space endeavours. At the core of the Mars Diary programme is an illustrated activity book that students personalise as they complete a range of creative, empowering STEM activities. Teachers are supported with lesson plans, teaching notes, differentiation ideas, multimedia and detailed curriculum links for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
With the support of the UK Space Agency, 15,000 free Mars Diary books will be made available to primary schools across the UK with priority given to those in areas of high levels of deprivation and education under-achievement. Five thousand of these will be distributed to teachers via ESERO-UK and STEM Learning. To ensure full access to these high-quality materials, all UK primary schools will also have free online access to the entire programme including over 60 hours of lessons for Key Stage 2 (P4-7 / Y3-6).
Mars Diary is a sequel to the hugely popular Principia Space Diary, one of ESA Astronaut Tim Peake’s education outreach projects that has inspired over 95,000 British schoolchildren since its launch in 2015. Watch Tim Peake’s welcome message to the “brave space explorers” who will embark on the Mars Diary programme. View and download Tim Peake’s video message, photos and other programme information in the media kit:Mars Diary Media Kit
Sue Horne, Head of Space Exploration at the UK Space Agency says:
“I am really pleased that we have been able to build on the success of the Principia Space Diary and we can share the excitement and challenges of Mars exploration with young people. I can’t wait to see the amazing ideas and work that students generate.”
The Mars Diary has been written and developed by Lucy Hawking and Curved House Kids with a strong emphasis on creativity and visual learning. Students will be inspired by real space, STEM and education experts including Sue Horne and Libby Jackson from the UK Space Agency Exploration team, volcanologist Professor Tamsin Mather, Mars weather expert Professor Stephen Lewis, Pamela Burnard, Professor of Arts, Creativities and Education at the University of Cambridge and robotics expert Professor Peter McOwan at Queen Mary University of London.
From today (Thursday 22nd February) primary schools in the UK are invited to register at marsdiary.org for a chance to receive a free box of 30 Mars Diaries plus stickers and a Mission Log poster for their class. Books will be allocated to schools on a first come, first served basis with priority given to those who have a high percentage of free school meals.
Other schools, home educating families and community groups can also register to access the free online programme, or purchase copies of the printed diaries via the online bookshop at marsdiary.org. Books will be delivered late-March. If the popularity of the Principia Space Diary is any indication, schools are encouraged to register fast to avoid missing out on printed books.
The programme is fully supported, flexible and can be completed at any time during the school year. Particular emphasis has been placed on making the complex topic of space science easy for any teacher to confidently deliver, giving them the tools to inspire children to read, write, draw, research, experiment and problem solve while strengthening STEM, literacy and visual literacy learning. The multi-modal approach to learning means students use a wide range of analogue and digital media to complete their tasks: from videos, tablets and phones to images and audio.
Publisher Kristen Harrison says:
“Space and science can be daunting topics for teachers and their students, but what we know from our past projects is that leaving plenty of room for individual creativity and ownership gets students engaged in a really meaningful way, and has a lasting impact. We are thrilled to have the chance to create another project like this with the UK Space Agency.”
The Mars Diary programme is funded by the UK Space Agency, as part of a scheme to support education outreach associated with the ExoMars mission, which is sending a rover to Mars in 2020 to look for evidence of life on The Red Planet.
Notes to Editors
About Lucy Hawking (www.lucyhawking.com)
Lucy Hawking is a British author who writes adventure stories based on science for a primary school age audience. Featuring a boy called George and his best friend Annie who have exciting space adventures together, the George series combines storytelling with science, and gives young readers an entertaining introduction to the world of space exploration. The series is published in over 40 languages. An Oxford graduate, Lucy started her writing career in journalism and worked for British newspapers, radio and magazines before becoming a published author. 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 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: to improve education by creating books and learning materials that engage children the way children are engaging with the world. This means visually, interactively and with tools that empower. In 2015, we published the Principia Space Diary, a STEM-literacy programme that followed ESA Astronaut Tim Peake’s mission to the International Space Station. Our goal was to distribute 15,000 free books to children in the UK and with the support of the UK Space Agency we ended up distributing over 40,000 free books and having over 95,000 students register to participate online at principiaspacediary.org.
We are proud to produce work that makes children part of the creative process and encourages them to form a positive relationship with books and science that will bolster them for a successful education. Curved House Kids was founded in 2013 by Kristen Harrison, a former Penguin editor and co-founder of Visual Verse online anthology. Kristen sits on the board of the International Visual Literacy Association.
In 2020, the European Space Agency’s ExoMars mission will deliver a rover to Mars. The rover will travel across the surface of Mars, looking for signs of life. Using its specialised instruments, it will collect and analyse rock samples from below the Martian surface and send its findings back to Earth. ExoMars will be the first mission to combine the ability to move across the Martian surface with the ability to collect and analyse rock samples. For more information on the ExoMars mission, visit: http://exploration.esa.int/mars/48088-mission-overview/
The European Space Education Resources Office, in the UK, aims to open doors for young people by supporting world-class teaching in STEM subjects, through the context of space. This is primarily achieved through bursary supported CPD, an online resource collection, and through our wider networks. ESERO-UK is part of STEM Learning Ltd. and funded by the European Space Agency and UK Space Agency.
For Further Information and Enquiries
Curved House Kids
Kristen Harrison (Publisher)
Mob +49 176 876 02770
C/- Rebecca Carter, Literary Agent
Janklow & Nesbit (UK) Ltd
Tel (020) 7243 2975
UK Space Agency
Polaris House, North Star Avenue, Swindon SN2 1SZ
Tel 01793 41 8069
Mob 07925 891 949