Space and dance combine in new primary school project

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UCLan has received national funding to use movement to engage primary school pupils in astronomy.

Astronomy and dance are being combined in an exciting new University of Central Lancashire (UCLan) project to help engage primary school pupils with the wonders of space.

The Into Our Skies: Space in Schools project will challenge traditional science-learning and use dance to engage young people with the curiosity and excitement of scientific ideas.

It has been given £15,000 from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Public Engagement Fund and the national funding has helped create a partnership between UCLan Astronomer Dr Joanne Pledger, UCLanDance and Preston-based dancer Lucy Starkey.

Together they are creating interactive educational videos, which are currently being filmed at the University’s Alston Observatory, and resources which will be available to schools for free by mid-October.

Dr Pledger said: “The six-week programme includes three videos and additional learning materials which are aimed at Year 5 and 6 pupils. They are closely aligned with national curriculum guidelines meaning teachers can provide practical opportunities for pupils engage in topics such as The Moon, Earth and the Sun and The Solar System whether in their classroom or as a homework topic.”

The additional resources include top tips on how to facilitate a dance class and supplementary information on ‘the science bit’, designed to help parents and teachers alike deliver high quality content, irrelevant of their background or level of science and dance knowledge.

Dr Pledger added: “We know teachers have had a difficult year and they’re trying to play catch-up on the months of teaching that were lost during lockdown so this free programme of informative, yet fun and engaging activities, can take the stress out of lesson planning and can combine the subjects of movement and science.”

The project is inspired by the solo show ‘Into Our Skies’ created by Lucy and supported by UCLanDance.

The Space in Schools videos and resources will be made freely available to schools and parents. Interested teachers and parents can register their interest at https://uclan.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/ios-schools-registration and find out more about the project on https://www.star.uclan.ac.uk/2020/09/14/into-our-skies-space-in-schools/ They will be sent the resources once they are released next month.

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