Littlehampton pupils meet astronaut Tim Peake

Six pupils from St Catherine's Catholic Primary School in Littlehampton met British astronaut Tim Peake and other space experts
Six pupils from St Catherine's Catholic Primary School in Littlehampton met British astronaut Tim Peake and other space experts

Six pupils from St Catherine’s Catholic Primary School were on cloud nine when they got to meet British astronaut Tim Peake and other space experts.

The year six pupils from the school in Highdown Drive, Littlehampton, presented their findings from their rocket science project at the first Principia Conference for schools.

The pupils were sent 100 rocket seeds back in April this year, in the rocket science project organised by RHS Schools for Gardening and the European Space Agency.

Fifty of the seeds had been on the International Space Station for six months and the pupils had to find out whether or not this affected their growth.

The class set up their own class blog to keep the public updated on their project. The pupils also wrote newspaper reports, created ISS-themed artwork and kept up-to-date with Tim Peake’s mission whilst he was on the International Space Station.

The pupils found out that the seeds from space did not grow so well and one even grew upside-down.

A school spokesman said: “On Tuesday, November 1, six children – Aoife Mattocks, Rhea Varghese, Regan Taylor-Reid, Otto Muddle, Harvey Horne and Lauren Kelly-Stoner – went to Portsmouth to take part in a range of space-themed activities organised by the University of Portsmouth and the ESA, who want to encourage more children to study STEM subjects.

“There was even an inspiring talk, complete with experiment, by television presenter Dallas Campbell to get the children engaged.

“On Wednesday, November 2, these six children then attended the Principia Conference along with other selected schools from all over the UK. Over 1,000,000 pupils from all over the UK took part in projects linked to Tim Peake’s mission and this was their opportunity to share what they did with other children and science experts.

“St Catherine’s school were asked to create a poster about their Rocket Science project and the children came up with a catchy title: Take a Peake at our Rocket Science. These pupils then had to explain their work and findings to scientists, space experts, other children and teachers who were attending the conference.

“Tim Peake kicked off the day with an exciting talk to all of the attendees, explaining what life for him was like on the International Space Station and how it was different to life on Earth.

“The most exciting part of the day for children and the adults (Lucy Cooper, class teacher, and Cathy Billington, teaching assistant) however, was meeting Tim Peake himself.

“The group were given a few minutes to talk to Tim, shaking his hand and speaking about their Rocket Science project and findings. They also managed to ask Tim what it was like to orbit Earth and he explained that it was pretty similar to living here, only you get a blocked nose and a puffy face as micro-gravity moves your bodily fluid into your face!

“The children absolutely loved the day and enjoyed speaking about their project to anyone who would listen. They even managed to talk to silver medal Paralympic athlete, Lauren Steadham.”

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