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SatSchool Launches the Classroom into Space

On 6th April the SatSchool outreach project was launched at a hybrid meeting, showcasing the results of the team’s hard work over the past six months to put this fantastic program together. SENSE students and outreach representatives from each of our institutes, as well as from NERC, ESERO-UK, UKSA and IRIS were all in attendance. 

SatSchool is a high quality school outreach program which aims to introduce Earth Observation (EO) concepts to 11-15 year old (KS3/S1-S3) pupils, highlighting the relevance of school subjects in EO and future STEM career pathways.  We have developed 12+ hours of engaging classroom resources in collaboration with teachers to ensure they are closely tied to the UK school curriculum. Pupils will have the chance to learn about satellites and how we use them to study the Earth from space, as well as getting hands on with some EO data! 

The outreach package also aims to ease the pressure on EO experts when doing outreach as the SatSchool materials are ready to take into the classroom. We have established a network of EO Ambassadors based in Edinburgh, Leeds, Southampton and Cambridge who can take these resources into schools and act as role models to inspire the next generation of EO experts. We hope this network will expand in the future!

The program contains six different modules, each with cross-curricular links across six STEM subjects:

  • Introduction to Earth Observation (Physics / Geography)
  • Hands on with Data (Computer Science / Maths / Geography)
  • Cryosphere (Geography / Maths / Physics) 
  • Biosphere (Biology / Geography) 
  • Atmosphere (Chemistry / Geography / Physics) 
  • Oceans (Geography / Biology / Physics)

Each module contains an introductory presentation to the subject which the presenter can use to introduce the topic. It also contains a self-guided ArcGIS StoryMap where students can work through the activities on a laptop/tablet/smartphone or it can be led through by a single presenter. The modules have worksheets for pupils to complete whilst doing the activities to keep them focused, as well as a  guide for the presenters on how to run the session. The sessions run between 30-60 minutes and activities can be adapted to the kind of session you want to run or you can follow the lesson plan provided. 

Calum Hoad and Sol White presenting the Intro to EO module at Bathgate Academy on 16th March 2022.

On March 16th we ran a successful first SatSchool visit to Bathgate Academy, where we trialled the Intro to EO module to two classes of S3 pupils. Co-founder Calum Hoad and Module Leader Sol White presented the module to two classes and the resources were well received. We are hoping to roll out SatSchool to more schools in the near future.

SatSchool team members Emily Dowd, Bryony Freer and Morag Fotheringham presenting our SatSchool poster on the final day of ESA’s Living Planet Symposium in Bonn, Germany. May 2022.

The SatSchool team was grateful for the opportunity to present a poster of the outreach project at the European Space Agency’s Living Planet Symposium in Bonn, Germany during May 2022. It was a really great opportunity for us to share SatSchool with an audience outside the UK and people were excited by the resources. We hope that the exposure at Living Planet will help to expand our EO Ambassador network and reach more schools.

Finally we would like to thank a lot of people for their support in their project. These include: 

  • NERC for awarding us an ‘Engaging the Public with Environmental Science’ grant
  • The SENSE CDT for their support in the project.  
  • ESERO-UK for their guidance, outreach training and putting us in contact with the Ogden Trust. 
  • The Ogden Trust and Chipping Campden School for arranging and taking part in the teacher workshop. 
  • IRIS & Bathgate Academy for the school visit
  • Space Hub Yorkshire for the extra funding to help advertise SatSchool
  • The SatSchool Team for all their hard work

You can explore the modules and find out more about the project on our website: https://satschool-outreach.github.io/ 

You can also follow us on Twitter @SatSchool_ or email us satschool.outreach@gmail.com

SENSE Students Win Funding For SatSchool

Four second year SENSE CDT researchers (Bryony Freer, Emily Dowd, Calum Hoad and Morag Fotheringham) have won National Environment Research Council (NERC) funding for their proposed outreach project “SatSchool”. This bid was made as part of a wider NERC initiative to engage the public with environmental sciences.

The project aims to create a high-quality school outreach package consisting of a general introduction to Earth Observation and five specialised modules – Getting Hands on with Data, Atmosphere, Oceans, Cryosphere and Biosphere. SatSchool will highlight the cross-curricular nature of environmental science and STEM careers, address the digital skills agenda and promote NERC science highlights. 

SatSchool will run in two phases. The first phase is the funded development of SatSchool between now and March 2022. SENSE PhD students will use their expertise to build the outreach modules by creating new resources and collating existing ones. Consultation with a high school teacher will then allow the modules to be tailored to the school curriculum. We have also partnered with ESERO-UK, who will aid in the development of materials and contribute to outreach training for SENSE PhD students. This collaboration means SatSchool will contribute to ESERO-UK’s One Million Interactions initiative.

After March 2022, SENSE students will use the resources and guidance developed by SatSchool to deliver outreach throughout their PhDs. The preparation time and stress associated with school outreach visits will be reduced, while allowing the delivered outreach to be consistent and of high-quality. SatSchool should empower SENSE students to become role models for the next generation of Earth Observation Scientists.