Community Engagement

Eyes to the sky: U.K. students explore space and color

Eyes to the sky: U.K. students explore space and color

Education, Global Giving

Why are rockets pointy? What design challenges must be solved to launch a rocket through the atmosphere into the vacuum of space? Since 2017, we have helped more than 10,000 students in the U.K. answer these questions and more through the PPG Chemistry Education Project in partnership with the National Space Academy, the country’s largest space education organization.

Students get hands on with space exploration

Through professionally developed masterclasses, students get hands on with space exploration and the importance of color and materials in space. Among many demonstrations and activities, they even explore why many space crafts are white. With cards in hand ranging from black through shades of grey to white, the students experience the relationship between color, heat absorption and reflection. By testing how heat sensitive paint reacts to a heat source, the students demonstrate how the white cards reflect more heat. Voila! That’s why space crafts are often painted white.

“Science isn’t about what we do know. It’s about what we don’t know,” said Steve Althorpe, Lead Educator, National Space Academy. “It’s about investigating, problem solving and creativity – and the PPG masterclass brings in all of these things.”

Growing students' STEM knowledge

Over the past three years, PPG has contributed to the National Space Academy to make this project possible. Through the PPG grants, the National Space Academy’s expert Lead Educators share exciting space science and technology experiments and science curriculum that allows students to grow their confidence in and knowledge of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects. We work with the National Space Academy to offer the classes to students who otherwise may not have such an opportunity due to their schools’ lack of resources.

“Science and engineering are all around us,” said Dr. Kierann Shah, general manager, National Space Academy. “To understand how that technology works and make the best use of it is something that will be vital for young people’s lives in the future.”

View a video on the PPG Chemistry Education Project to see the students’ enthusiasm for learning.  

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