In January primary school pupils joined cosmologists from the Institute of Cosmology and Gravitation for a day of stargazing and navigation at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard. Organised by the ICG and the HMS Warrior 1860 Education Team, ‘Stargazing for Schools’ took place at Action Stations and on board HMS Warrior 1860 on Wednesday 22 January 2014 and saw 169 pupils from schools in Portsmouth, Fareham, Gosport and Havant take part in a variety of workshops.
ICG members Edd Edmondson, Jen Gupta and Rita Tojeiro joined forces with Sam Connolly, Chris Frohmaier and Sadie Jones from the University of Southampton to run three activities, including shows in the University of Portsmouth’s new Astrodome. The other workshops looked at the size of the planets in the solar system using play-doh, and how astronomers use spectra to work out what stars are made of. Elsewhere pupils explored historic and modern navigation with the learning teams from HMS Warrior 1860 and the National Museum of the Royal Navy and found out more about the solar system with the Hampshire Astronomical Group.
The event was a resounding success, with one teacher commenting that it was “…a fantastic day. It had just the right mix of awe and wonder as well as factual information and practical work. All the children were talking so much about all the different things they had learnt and enjoyed”. Photographs from the day featured in The Portsmouth News on Wednesday 29 January as well as on their website.
Stargazing for Schools was the latest in a series of collaborations between the ICG and HMS Warrior 1860. Previous events have included tie-ins with the BBC Stargazing Live programme in 2014 and 2013, and a day themed around the Transit of Venus in 2012.