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First British Astronaut takes part in Canford’s Space Celebrations
Each year the final week of the Summer Term at Canford is devoted to a variety of co-curricular, fun, off piste activities offering pupils the chance to learn new skills, known as ‘Spirit of Place.’
This year, in celebration of 50 years’ of the first Moon landing in 1969, the Canford week was appropriately renamed ‘Spirit of Space’ and was packed with exciting challenges across departments.
Pupils in the English department made some fantastic models in their ‘Making the Moon’ activity, while in Physics they designed and built flying egg holders to test out in an ‘Egg-drop challenge’, hoping the parachutes avoided the eggs breaking on landing. Akkadian Astronomy was explored in the Classics department, and Tintin in Space was read in translation in MFL. The DT department built and fired rockets into the clouds above Canford on a Mars Mission while some pupils even had the chance to travel the globe in a VR space simulator in Computer Science. In Biology, pupils examined ‘Biospheres in Space’ and in Chemistry they explored a variety of experiments. The Assembly Hall housed a science dome which offered pupils the chance to experience a 360 degree moon adventure!
Lectures included ‘How to Live in Space’ by Kevin Wong and author Colin Stuart, Fellow of the Royal Astronomical Society who has talked to half a million people about the universe and whose books have sold more than 300,000 copies worldwide.
A highlight was a visit on Tuesday 25th June from someone who had actually been in space, Helen Sharman CMG OBE who was the first British astronaut and visited the Mir space station in May 1991. Helen gave a fascinating talk about her experiences, followed by a Q&A session in the Layard Theatre and stayed for lunch with pupils and staff. She also kindly judged our Junior Moon Landings competition, entered by children in Years 3-7 at local prep schools, who came to Canford on Thursday for the grand final and to launch their very own rockets.
There was also a terrific Moon themed end of term concert with 'Blue Moon', 'Fly me to the Moon' and a piece composed for the Wind Orchestra to celebrate the Moon landings, prompting Director of Music Christopher Sparkhall to comment "It's amazing how many pieces of music have a moon-related theme, however tenuous!"
The finale to ‘Spirit of Space’ was a wonderful ‘To the Moon and Back’ space themed Summer Ball, held on the evening of Speech Day on Friday 28th June. A fitting finale to an out of this world week!