Out of this world experience for Pairc pupils

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It’s not every day that you get to meet an astronaut!

Pupils from Pairc School met British astronaut Tim Peake at the UK Space Agency Principia Schools Conference in York on Saturday 5th November.

The pupils travelled to attend the conference and gave a presentation.

Tim Peake addressed the Conference and outlined in detail his recent mission on the International Space Station before meeting with every school group in attendance.

During the school session 2015-2016 the pupils of Pairc School took part in various projects linked to the European Space Agency sending the first British astronaut to the International Space Station.

Tim Peake launched projects related to his mission to engage schools and publicise this event, these included ‘Rocket Science’.

In this project pupils received two packets of seeds, one of which had spent six months in space, as part of a national experiment to determine the effects, if any, of gravity on the growth of plants.

They also participated in the Global Science Experiment ‘Mission Starlight’ as introduced by Tim Peake, ‘How to Protect an astronaut from UV light’.

The results from both projects were entered into national data bases.

By taking part in these projects and through watching the video clips from Tim Peake on the ISS Pairc pupil was inspired to such an extent that when asked to write a story ‘The Magic Carpet’ Matilda wrote about her carpet taking her to a rocket where she met Tim Peake.

This story was submitted along with photographs of the children’s involvement in the other projects to attend the Principia Schools Conference run by the UK Space Agency.

As a result of Matilda’s successful application, she and five other pupils aged 6-7 years were invited to attend the Principia Schools Conference in York an gave a presentation called ‘Up, Up and Away with Mission Starlight.’ Based on the Mission Starlight project and culminating with Matilda reading her story.

The pupils were praised for how well they spoke and presented themselves as well as the science described in their presentation.

The highlight of the day came when the pupils met and spoke to Tim Peake, asking him questions and then they had a photograph taken with him.

“We learned a lot of things about being an astronaut. They recycle any liquid on board the space station because there is no water up there.They have to exercise or their bones get weaker and weaker because they don’t use their legs a lot, they just float about.I enjoyed meeting Tim Peake and speaking to him and shaking his hand,” said Matilda.

On the Sunday pupils took part in an action packed Activity day which included visiting a Planetarium and Mission X – training as an astronaut.

The school would like to thank in particular the UK Space Agency for their funding towards the cost of the trip and the Muaitheabhal Community Wind Farm Trust who provided fifty percent of the funding, and a grant from the Ross and Cromarty Educational Trust, all of which enabled the children to take part in this once in a lifetime experience.