We have had a Super Science week – all part of our aim to raise the Science Capital of all pupils at Burlington Junior school.

Pupils got their hands on rare samples of moon rocks and meteorites this week during a series of science lessons which were truly out of this world. Students were encouraged to reach for the stars and learn more about the Universe around us during a week-long interactive experience of astronomy. All classes were given the unique opportunity to actually touch a piece of space rock not of this Earth as they were allowed to handle some genuine meteorites.

These rare samples were provided free of charge by the UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC), which provides educational packs in a bid to inspire young people to get involved in science and complement classroom studies.The pack provided by STFC includes a 1.2 billion-year-old piece of Mars rock and a 4.3 billion-year-old nickel meteorite. It is unlikely that students will ever get the chance to hold an object older than this, as Earth itself was formed 4.6 billion years ago.

The lunar samples were collected in the late 1960s and early 1970s during some of NASA’s first manned space missions to the Moon. During these missions, a staggering 382kg of material was brought back to Earth – mostly for use by scientists, but small quantities are used to develop educational packs like this one. Samples like these can tell us a great deal about the planets, from which they originate, but there is still much to learn – and STFC hopes these packs will encourage students to become the next generation of astronomers.

STFC’s Executive Chair, Professor Mark Thomson, said: “We are thrilled to be able to offer this unique opportunity to young people. It is not often they will be able to see close-up, and actually touch, such important fragments of science history. Samples like these are vital in teaching us more about our solar system, allowing us to confront theory with fact. We hope this experience will encourage the students to take up a career in science.”

Kate Sutton, Science Leader at Burlington Junior said “Throughout this week, we have been extremely privileged to be able to have samples of Moon Rock, meteorites and other space debris on loan from NASA. All the children have had access to the samples and have been thrilled and excited by the rare, hands-on, learning experience.”

“We are also very pleased to have been visited by David Bannister (STEM Ambassador) and John Sharman- Helen Sharman’s father- to talk to the children about her experiences of being the first British astronaut and the first woman to visit the Mir Space Station. This was really interesting and informative.”

“In addition, on Tuesday we had a whole school, live, satellite link up with the Challenger Learning Centre in the USA- which was all about the Apollo 11 mission to the Moon. This was equally exciting and engaging. We were very pleased to invite a group of pupils from Hilderthorpe Primary to share these learning opportunities.”

STFC is the only authorised source to loan lunar samples to educational and scientific organisations in the UK.

You can watch more of this week’s exciting events in the film below.