Pupils in Cardiff blast off to a brighter future
21 July 2023
Secondary school children have been working with Cardiff University experts to explore the challenges faced during a mission to develop a new settlement able to sustain human life on Mars.
Space Academy 2023 is a week-long education programme to help 13 and 14 year olds learn more about global efforts for space travel and colonisation of Mars.
The scheme for children from secondary schools across Cardiff, and especially those in underrepresented groups, was created to inspire them with STEM based careers in the space industry – a growth sector within the city and capitol region. (STEM = Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics)
Six secondary schools engaged in a series of mission to Mars challenges. Team events saw pupils work together to produce proposals for the construction of a base to house a human colony. The children worked creatively to produce design for a rocket launch and Lego robotics to explore planetary terrain and life using the latest research evidence.
Pupils worked with leading researchers from Cardiff University’s School of Physics and Astronomy and the School of Engineering, alongside leading local employers from the aerospace sector including Space Forge and Small Spark Space Systems, and a variety of other external experts.
Professor Paul Roche leading the project on behalf of Cardiff University, said “Space Academy Cardiff offered a unique opportunity to develop pupils understanding of science and technology linked to space exploration. For the first time, many experienced the wide range of higher education opportunities that exist at university, as well as some of the innovative employment opportunities within the local area”.
Through engaging in these varied learning experiences, they were able to apply and extend their knowledge of science and technology as well as other integral skills that form the pillars of the new curriculum in Wales.
Councillor Sarah Merry, Deputy Leader of Cardiff Council and Cabinet Member for Education, said: “Space Academy Cardiff helps to raise aspirations and inspire more school children in Cardiff to consider taking up STEM subjects and open their eyes to future career opportunities in space industry. An excellent example of partnership working, events like these work to equip young people with the right knowledge and skills they need to succeed. They were provided with experiences, information and advice on the exciting career prospects Cardiff has to offer which in turn helps employers to access a generation of young people who are informed, enthusiastic and excited to work in Cardiff, helping to grow sectors in the Capital Region."
Following the week-long programme of engaging workshops, a special showcase of the pupils achievements was followed by their graduation from Space Academy Cardiff 2023 on Friday 7 July at CultVR, a groundbreaking digital arts centre in Grangetown.