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Youngsters handle moon rocks and meteorites in an out of this world science lesson

PUBLISHED: 17:00 16 March 2018

Pupils from local schools got their hands on rare samples of moon rocks. Pictured is Sedgeford Primary School pupil Karen (8). Picture: Ian Burt

Pupils from local schools got their hands on rare samples of moon rocks. Pictured is Sedgeford Primary School pupil Karen (8). Picture: Ian Burt

Archant 2018

One small step for West Norfolk youngsters, one giant leap for imagination.

Pupils from local schools got their hands on rare samples of moon rocks. Pictured is Docking Primary School pupil Reece (8), Picture: Ian BurtPupils from local schools got their hands on rare samples of moon rocks. Pictured is Docking Primary School pupil Reece (8), Picture: Ian Burt

Children at Sedgeford Primary School were encouraged to reach for the stars and learn more about the universe during interactive lessons on astronomy this week.

They were given the opportunity to touch a piece of space rock not of this earth and handled some genuine meteorites.

This included a 1.2bn-year-old rock from Mars and a 4.3bn-year-old nickel meteorite. It is unlikely that students will ever get the chance to hold an object older than this as Earth itself was formed around 4.6bn years ago.

The lunar samples were collected in the late 1960s and early 1970s during some of NASA’s first manned space missions to the moon.

Pupils from local schools got their hands on rare samples of moon rocks. Picture: Ian BurtPupils from local schools got their hands on rare samples of moon rocks. Picture: Ian Burt

Deputy headteacher Keith Twaites said: “For them it is an experience that they will probably never have again.
“To handle some of the rocks gave the children a sense of the complexity of the solar system.”

Others schools from the St Mary Federation group, including years groups from reception to Year 6 from Brancaster and Docking, also took part in the exhibition.

Mr Twaites said the children were able to learn about the different types of rocks on the moon and compare them to rocks found on earth.

He added: “It is something they have never seen before, and they asked questions they didn’t know the answers to.
“They learnt how the moon causes tides and how the phasing of the moon changes.
“Even some of the younger ones were fascinated with the rocks. It is the first time we have ever borrowed the moon.”

With some moon rocks is Brancaster Primary School pupil Oscar (8). Picture: Ian BurtWith some moon rocks is Brancaster Primary School pupil Oscar (8). Picture: Ian Burt

The rare samples were provided by the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), which provides educational packs in a bid to inspire young people to get involved in science.

STFC’s chief executive officer, Dr Brian Bowsher, said: “We are thrilled to be able to offer this unique opportunity to young people.

“It is not often they will be able to see close-up, and actually touch, such important fragments of science history.

“Samples like these are vital in teaching us more about our solar system, allowing us to turning theories into fact.

Pupils from local schools got their hands on rare samples of moon rocks. Picture: Ian BurtPupils from local schools got their hands on rare samples of moon rocks. Picture: Ian Burt

“We hope this experience will encourage the students to take up a career in science.”


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