Schoolchildren set to benefit from ‘out of this world’ UCLan project

28 October 2020

Fun, free learning resources and videos have been created to help teach primary schoolchildren about astronomy using dance

Fun, free resources aimed at helping to engage primary school pupils with the wonders of space through the medium of dance have been created by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), in partnership with dancer Lucy Starkey.

A six-week scheme of work featuring interactive educational videos, which were filmed at the University’s Alston Observatory, and classroom investigations are now available to teachers and parents to challenge traditional science-learning and to use dance to engage Year 5 and 6 age pupils with the curiosity and excitement of scientific ideas.

UCLan astronomer Dr Joanne Pledger, UCLanDance Co-course leader Ruth Spencer and Artist in Residence Lucy Starkey have collaborated to bring the learning of science and dance together in the ‘Into Our Skies: Space in Schools’ scheme.

Dr Pledger said: “We’re absolutely delighted with the three interactive videos and learning resources we’ve created, and we know schoolchildren are going to love them. They are closely aligned with national curriculum guidelines meaning teachers can provide practical opportunities for pupils engage in topics such as The Solar System, orbits and the rotation of the Earth.

“We fully believe these resources can be a massive help to teachers at a time when they’re being stretched by the impact of Covid-19. These free resources take the stress out of lesson planning and can be used in the classroom, as a homework task or can be very helpful in the many cases of classes having to self-isolate at home.”

"We fully believe these resources can be a massive help to teachers at a time when they’re being stretched by the impact of Covid-19"

UCLan astronomer Dr Joanne Pledger

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.

The resources have been backed by Sarah Connon, Science Learning Partnership Lead for Lancashire and Cumbria.

The Ashton Community Science College Assistant Headteacher said: “The recently released Into Our Skies: Space in Schools project composes of an amazing set of Key Stage 2 resources for teachers to engage and motivate students by delivering Earth and Space through dance.

“Not only will they work in the classroom, but also as a remote package for students self-isolating or as an extracurricular activity to ensure pupils are keeping their minds healthy with some exercise.”

Funding for the project came from a £15,000 grant from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Public Engagement Fund. The project is inspired by the solo show ‘Into Our Skies’ created by Lucy and has been supported by UCLanDance.

The free six-week scheme of work can be accessed by registering online, following which teachers will be sent a link to download the resources.

*Photo caption - Behind the scenes on the Into Our Skies: Space in Schools project, with Dr Joanne Pledger explaining the science before this is explored with movement by dancer Lucy Starkey. Photo credit to Into Our Skies: Space in Schools