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Scilly pupils 'wowed' by Astronomy team visit


A mobile astronomy outreach team "wowed" pupils on Scilly last week.

AfRIS - Astronomy for Remote and Island Schools - visits schools in harder-to-reach locations to talk about astronomy and particle physics.

They spent two days at Five Islands Academy on St Mary's, where they were joined by Year 5 and 6 pupils from Tresco, St Martin’s, St Agnes and Bryher.

Chris Leigh from AfRIS said: "The first day we did a number of workshops with Year 8, 9, 10 & 11, including Cosmology, Solar System, Robotic Telescope and Destination Mars (planning a Mars Colony).

"The second day was spent running a good variety of activities for Year 5 & 6, including Solar System, Stars and Constellations, Nature of Light and Hunting for Asteroids."

AfRIS, which is funded by the Science and Technology Facilities Council, has been running since the start of 2018 and has another year to go. Chris, a senior lecturer and astronomer at the Astrophysics Research Institute of Liverpool John Moores University, said: "So far we have worked with 46 schools from as far north as Unst (the most northerly school in the UK) down to Jersey. The idea is to visit schools that rarely see a scientist, or where it is just too expensive and difficult to visit science centres to central locations. You can see our team tracker at www.afris.uk/visits/tracker/." He added of the Scilly visit: "It was a busy two days, but we had an enjoyable time with a great bunch of kids. We usually go places by ferry, so it was an interesting change to arrive by Skybus."

The school’s recent newsletter said Years 5 and 6 were “wowed by the Rosetta Nebula" and finished their session “buzzing with space facts, curiosities and ambitions of space exploration”.

Head of School Jo Yeates said: “We were delighted to welcome the AfRIS project. They worked with secondary and primary students, who thoroughly enjoyed finding out more about the physics of space. It was a really exciting and informative session.”

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