Report on the Student Masterclass and Teacher Training Programs
April 03 – 05, 2017
The student masterclasses were aimed at
school students in the 15-18 age range who have a keen interest in space
sciences. Thirty students from all over the UAE had masterclasses delivered by
Professor Anu Ojha OBE (UK National Space Academy Director) and colleagues from
the Sharjah Centre for Astronomy and Space Sciences. These sessions were a mixture
of academic classes, practical hands-on sessions, and University tours. Several
activities were done including:
- - The physics and engineering of space suit
design – including the chance to examine a genuine Russian high-altitude
stratospheric survival suit.
- - Understanding the planet Mars – including
examination of a confirmed Martian meteorite.
- - Using astronomy at all wavelengths – using
spectrometers to analyze the solar spectrum and infra-red cameras to understand
- - Science for the benefit of life on Earth –
using Earth Observation and GPS data in real-time from satellites.
- - Planetary orbits and human exploration
beyond Earth orbit.
- - Presentations from the UAE Space Agency, Lockheed-Martin,
and tours of the University of Sharjah.
For the teachers training program (twenty
teachers), the UK National Space Academy (NSA), as well as SCASS, were
responsible for it. We should note that NSA is the UK’s largest space education
and skills development program. NSA trains over 1400 UK and international
science teachers each year through its programs in the UK, for the European
Space Agency (ESA) and in China.
The training sessions were delivered by
Andy McMurray (National Space Academy head of Teaching and Learning) and Sophie
Allan (National Space Academy Lead Physics teacher) who used inspirational
contexts from space science to boost teacher effectiveness in supporting
curriculum physics, mathematic and engineering. Both work with the National
Space Academy as outstanding practitioners of teaching and teacher training. There
were also training sessions delivered by the outstanding team of scientists and
astronomers from SCASS and the University of Sharjah.
In the teacher training, attendees were
- - Gain a deeper understanding of space
science themes and how they can be used as effective contexts to boost student
understanding and attainment in school curriculum physics/science
- - Experience creative, engaging and effective
mathematical modeling, hands-on and digital learning methodologies developed by
the Academy for the UK and international education programs including for the
European Space Agency
- - Gain a deeper understanding of the UAE’s
space sector and space programs including the use of UAE space science contexts
in school science teaching and the highlighting of possible career pathways for
students into the UAE space sector and wider science and engineering careers.
The Student Masterclass and Teachers
Training programs were mainly sponsored by the Sharjah Center for Astronomy and
Space Sciences and the UK National Space Academy. A closure ceremony was held
on April 05, 2017 to distribute certificates of appreciation to the students,
the teachers, and the UK National Space Academy team. His HE Prof. Hamid
Al-Naimiy, the Chancellor of the University of Sharjah and the General Director
of SCASS headed the closure ceremony. Several VIP invitees attended the
ceremony. Prof. Hamid along with the invitees made a tour of the students
experiments and was very pleased by the explanations given by the students