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Innovative primary STEM programme makes 15,000 free books available to schools in the UK’s most deprived areas

Lucy Hawking and Curved House Kids today launch Mars Diary, an ambitious new primary science programme, in partnership with the UK Space Agency, that aims to get 60,000 British schoolchildren involved in the UK’s ExoMars mission and other human and robotic space endeavours. At the core of the Mars Diary programme is an illustrated activity book that students personalise as they complete a range of creative, empowering STEM activities. Teachers are supported with lesson plans, teaching notes, differentiation ideas, multimedia and detailed curriculum links for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

With the support of the UK Space Agency, 15,000 free Mars Diary books will be made available to primary schools across the UK with priority given to those in areas of high levels of deprivation and education under-achievement. Five thousand of these will be distributed to teachers via ESERO-UK and STEM Learning. To ensure full access to these high-quality materials, all UK primary schools will also have free online access to the entire programme including over 60 hours of lessons for Key Stage 2 (P4-7 / Y3-6).

Mars Diary is a sequel to the hugely popular Principia Space Diary, one of ESA Astronaut Tim Peake’s education outreach projects that has inspired over 95,000 British schoolchildren since its launch in 2015. Watch Tim Peake’s welcome message to the “brave space explorers” who will embark on the Mars Diary programme. The video is available in our Media Kit:  https://www.dropbox.com/sh/aep737zkh5c7dto/AABC-JNLnNJ5kPOu21wCaWdja?dl=0
The Mars Diary has been written and developed by Lucy Hawking and Curved House Kids with a strong emphasis on creativity and visual learning. Students will be inspired by real space, STEM and education experts including Sue Horne and Libby Jackson from the UK Space Agency Exploration team, volcanologist Professor Tamsin Mather, Mars weather expert Professor Stephen Lewis, Pamela Burnard, Professor of Arts, Creativities and Education at the University of Cambridge and robotics expert Professor Peter McOwan at Queen Mary University of London.

From Thursday 22nd February primary schools in the UK are invited to register at marsdiary.org for a chance to receive a free box of 30 Mars Diaries plus stickers and a Mission Log poster for their class. Books will be allocated to schools on a first come, first served basis with priority given to those who have a high percentage of free school meals.

Other schools, home educating families and community groups can also register to access the free online programme, or purchase copies of the printed diaries via the online bookshop at marsdiary.org. Books will be delivered late-March. If the popularity of the Principia Space Diary is any indication, schools are encouraged to register fast to avoid missing out on printed books.  

The programme is fully supported, flexible and can be completed at any time during the school year. Particular emphasis has been placed on making the complex topic of space science easy for any teacher to confidently deliver, giving them the tools to inspire children to read, write, draw, research, experiment and problem solve while strengthening STEM, literacy and visual literacy learning. The multi-modal approach to learning means students use a wide range of analogue and digital media to complete their tasks: from videos, tablets and phones to images and audio.

The Mars Diary programme is funded by the UK Space Agency, as part of a scheme to support education outreach associated with the ExoMars mission, which is sending a rover to Mars in 2020 to look for evidence of life on The Red Planet.

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