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An Afternoon with an Astronaut

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Y7 Chemistry pupils from Sharples School Bolton, Haslingden High School, the Christian Fellowship School Liverpool and Merchant Taylors’ School joined girls and boys from Bolton School to spend an inspirational afternoon in the company of Britain’s first astronaut Helen Sharman CMG OBE. She spoke about STEM subjects and the wonders of science and went into detail about her her visit to, and time onboard, the Mir Space Station in 1991. Helen, who is also a Chemist, offered fascinating insights into what life was like in space before answering all the pupils’ questions. Earlier, the six schools had enjoyed a session with Dr Peter Hoare, the STEM Outreach Officer from the University of Newcastle, who focused on The Elements of Colour and Chemistry Smells workshops.

Earlier in the day, Helen had been the keynote speaker at Inspiring the Next Generation of Chemists, the Royal Society of Chemistry Secondary and Further Education Group’s National Conference, which was held at Bolton School. The event celebrated the anniversaries of the discovery of the Periodic System 150 years ago and the first landing on the moon 50 years ago and focused on a number of issues including the International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements, RSC careers and employability and the GCSE curriculum. Headmaster Mr Philip Britton spoke about the importance of well-structured pedagogy, strong links between schools and HE teaching, good role models and positive career information.

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