22 April 2024

Moon rocks land at New Forest school

The children of Forres Sandle Manor school were incredibly privileged recently when they hosted an out-of-this-world event – Moon Week!

During the week, children had the opportunity to handle and experience rocks from outer space, and even soil and rock samples taken from the Moon itself, studying fascinating specimens such as orange soil, anorthosite, breccia and highland soil.

These samples, collected on the Apollo Missions of the early 1970s, and the range of meteorites, including some from Mars, were used as a catalyst to learn more about Space.

For the pupils at Forres Sandle Manor, this event was a captivating encounter with history and science.

The opportunity to see and hold the Moon Rocks awakened their curiosity and opened doors to a realm beyond their wildest imaginations. Each sample held a unique story, reflecting the remarkable geological diversity of the Moon and the Universe.

To further enhance their understanding and passion for Space, different year groups, from Nursery to year 8, conducted scientific experiments into craters and impacts of meteorites, the geochemistry of the surface of the Moon and the make-up of a range of Earth and Space rocks.

These hands-on activities allowed the students to delve deeper into space science, fostering critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

The UK’s Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) provided these rare samples free of charge, which provides educational packs 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 to hold an object older than this, as Earth itself was formed 4.6 billion years ago.

The whole of Moon Week at Forres Sandle Manor sparked a flame of enthusiasm within the students.

Many were inspired to learn more about astronomy, planetary science, and the vastness of the cosmos. The event created an environment of wonder and excitement, encouraging young minds to explore the mysteries of the universe and consider future careers in STEM fields.

This event also provided an opportunity for interdisciplinary learning, blending science with history, geography, and even art. Students had the chance to delve into the historical context of the Apollo missions, understand the geological processes that shaped the Moon’s surface, and express their newfound knowledge through artistic creations inspired by space.

As the Moon Rocks event concluded, its impact on the students of Forres Sandle Manor will continue to resonate. The experiences and knowledge gained during this extraordinary week will be a foundation for future explorations and scientific pursuits.

Who knows what groundbreaking discoveries and advancements in space exploration may come from the minds of these young pupils?

Forres Sandle Manor School must thank our incredible Head of Science, Mrs Young and those at the Science and Technology Facilities Council who facilitated such a fascinating week.

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.”

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

Written by
Andy Munns
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Written by Andy Munns