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Space scientist Professor Lucie Green launches Summer of STEM challenge

Prof Lucie Green

Space scientist and broadcaster- @Dr_Lucie has teamed up with @STEMLearningUK to launch a range of science, technology, engineering and maths challenges to keep young brains and bodies active over the summer.

Lucie, a professor of physics in the Department of Space and Climate at UCL and a regular face on the BBC’s The Sky at Night and StarGazing, hopes children and adults alike will take inspiration from the fun activities and develop their STEM skills during the summer break.

By participating in STEM Learning’s Summer of STEM you can complete exciting challenges from cleaning up an oil spill and exercising like an astronaut to becoming an expert on rovers and moon bases.

The challenges and activities, which are all easy to resource and do at home, have been curated by STEM Learning to provide children (4-19) with stimulus to learn and talk about the world around them. STEM Learning is also encouraging people to share how they get on with the challenges on social media, using the hashtag #scienceathome.

Kicking off on 20 July 2020, each fortnight will have a different theme. You can find out more about the challenges here, but below is the lowdown on what to expect over the coming weeks.

Week 1 (20 July 2020) – The first theme is oceans and the environment and how we can take better care of them. Practical challenges include how to clean up an oil slick, making rope from a plastic bag, using an old plastic water bottle to make a water filter, simulating rising sea levels using playdough and water and designing a flood-proof home. Download the activity pack at under ‘Educational family activities’.

Week 2 (3 August 2020) – In the second week, the theme will shift to Space, linking with the imminent launch of NASA’s Perseverance Rover, but with a European Space Agency/UK Space Agency mission focus. During this week challenges will see you getting involved in rovers and moon bases, including designing a lunar habitat and making your own Mars rover.  Challenge pack available on 3rd August.

Week 3 (17 August 2020) – The third and final week is all about getting active.  From learning about healthy eating to exercising like an astronaut by joining Mission X, this week’s challenges will include coding your own dance routine and designing sports kits and venues. Challenge pack available on 17th August.

Professor Lucie Green said: “I never imagined where my love of physics would lead me in life. I actually started following a career in the arts, studying for an art foundation degree, but quickly realised science was my calling. I’ve always been fascinated about the world around us and how it works and my study has taken me in to a wonderful career in astrophysics. My research mainly focuses on the Sun and I’ve been involved in many exciting projects including the ESA Solar Orbiter mission that just recently showed the public the first images of the Sun up close.”

“There are so many rewarding careers science can open up after school, and I’m passionate about inspiring young people, particularly girls and minority groups, to pursue their studies in STEM subjects. As such, I’m delighted to be launching the Summer of STEM with STEM Learning. These enjoyable challenges are an ideal way to inspire the next generation of scientists, as well as have fun over the summer holiday.”

Fran Dainty, Head of Education at STEM Learning, said: “With many people deciding to holiday at home this summer, we wanted to come up with a new way to keep the kids entertained and inspired over the break.”

“We were motivated to launch our Summer of STEM challenge following high demand and enthusiasm for the STEM home-learning resources we made available to parents, carers and teachers at the start of lockdown. We hope to build on this STEM momentum with a series of fortnightly challenges that will keep children’s minds and bodies active. We’d love to see how everyone gets on and are asking people to share their results on social media using #scienceathome. And if you enjoy it, please do encourage friends and other families to take on the Summer of STEM challenge too.”

STEM Learning is a non-profit dedicated to raising young people’s engagement and achievement in STEM, increasing the numbers progressing in STEM studies and STEM-related careers. It is the largest provider of STEM education and careers support to schools, colleges and community groups working with young people across the UK, engaging with every secondary school in the UK. To continue to educate young people while they are at home, it developed areas of the website dedicated to families and teachers. Here they can find a range of materials such as free resources, family activities and tips from our subject experts.

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