My Lessons From Major Tim Peake

Friday 17th June

This is the day my class waited for! Our hero Major Tim Peake spent his last day on the International Space Station and preparations began for his journey home.

It has been such a buzz following this mission. Since the launch, children in my class have been fascinated and asked so many questions about space. From the launch through to today they have followed this mission and been inspired by this journey. As I look back to December 15th when I heard about the launch on the news on my drive to work I was excited! I could not wait to talk about this with my class and watch the footage on our Smart TV. Back then though, I would never have guessed how involved we would become in space exploration!

Tim and Primary School

Screen Shot 2016-06-18 at 08.28.58Our British Astronaut has devoted so much of his time to education, particularly the primary phase, and has supported schools right across Europe throughout his mission. A dedicated education blog was managed by ESA and The UK Space Agency to link classrooms to Tim giving teachers and children a place to share their work, research and questions. This was not a one-way channel though. It has been a joy seeing how Tim has connected with so many children on a classroom level throughout his mission. The UK Space Agency suggest that over 1 million children in British schools have engaged with Tim Peake’s projects and a more detailed analysis of the involvement of schools will be published soon.

Tim connected with my class through Twitter. We had used our Guided Reading time to look at his photo stream and feed, using this to write and record a song for him. You can read more about that here. At 4.57pm on Sunday 13th March he listened to our song and sent his own verse back to us. It was a proud moment and a story which made headlines in England.

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Making the most of his work in space, Tim has shared his passion for the stars and planets each and every day with young learners. But his work with schools didn’t stop there. Tim has actively promoted literacy and shared reading with primary school children. He regularly shared photographs of him reading on the space station, whether this be science textbooks or picture books.

The most exciting reading event he was involved with must be with the BBC where he read the book ‘Goodnight Spaceman’ for the CBBC Bedtime Stories series. You can watch this great story here.

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This simple story from Michelle Robinson is based on his two sons and it was published by Penguin Books on April 7th. The story is a wonderful rhyme and a real good book to read for fun. It compliments any collection of space themed books as it has a real-life story behind it. It’s not just a story though, contained on the front pages of the book is a letter from Tim and this really does bring the book to life!

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Tim and Teachers

The European Space Agency has worked across Europe with many schools to build Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics resources for primary schools. Promoting the importance of STEM subjects has been at the front and centre of Tim’s mission. It is clear that Tim is passionate about these subjects and he regularly discussed how these subjects are the foundations for the next generation of scientists.

On April 4th Tim joined teachers across England and Europe for a live chat which was streamed live for all to watch. He answered questions from primary teachers who attended STEM hubs across Europe and the European Space Agency Education Resource Office was highlighted as a go-to place to support STEM subjects for teachers. You should also check out the Principia website for resources for schools too. To watch the live talk with teachers click here, it is a great broadcast and should convince any teacher to include STEM in their curriculum.

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Impact on my Classroom.

I have always been an advocate for talking about big issues with small children. In Summer 2012 Primary Geography Journal published an article I had written about a sustainability project and blogging with early years children. I’ve recently collaborated with The Forestry Commission to publish resources for early years children to capture the story of People, Wildlife and Timber when visiting their forestry sites. So to talk about Tim’s mission at a greater depth with my young learners is a best practise of mine.

Looking at Tim’s preparation for returning home we studied diagrams on the process and talked through each stage. We discussed the risk, the fear, the excitement of this final stage of his mission. After a few carpet times where we made sense of thus journey and the route Soyuz will take, this drawing was given to me from a girl in my class.

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You can see Tim inside Soyuz here. The direction that he will be traveling towards his family on Earth is put very clear. You can see space, accompanied with a label, and the black horizontal line at the top shows Earth’s atmosphere. She explained that the Soyuz is burning up as it was entering the atmosphere. We had learned about that from the news reports! Here is a 5 year old girl who has been inspired by science and by risk taking in learning. Tim Peake really has inspired the next generation of scientists and astronauts through his close links with teachers and their classes.

Impact on Me.

It is so refreshing to find people who are giving rich opportunities to schools, teachers and children. These are the kinds of people who I surround myself with as they bring real life learning and an exciting energy to education. So many people talk about what is wrong with education and it brings teachers down. I occupy myself with people who are busy being brilliant! These are the people who are moving education forward despite everything else going on. When you seek out opportunities beyond your classroom, your school, your region or your country, that is when you can see things much more clearly. Find a global movement and share the journey with you class. It will bring a welcome change to your classroom and to your professional development.

Saturday 18th June.

It’s 9.10am and it is time to watch Soyuz and the crew enter Earth’s atmosphere and I am going to watch this live right now. I cannot wait to go back to school on Monday to talk about this wonderful moment with my class, who I’m sure will be watching live with their parents at home this morning too.


To Major Tim Peake, The European Space Agency and The UK Space Agency.

Thank you for the wonderful memories this year.

Thank you for changing the world.

Good Luck Major Tim Peake!

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