Sarah Bridgland, artist, and Emma Wride (AstroCymru, ESERO Space Ambassador) teamed up to run some fantastic workshops in Wales. The cross-curricula nature of the workshop covered lots of topics; astronomy, science, maths, literacy and art worked really well. The strength of this project is the art/science link. The creative side finds an application for the science, and helps to cement the astronomy presented. ‘It’s not just about being told facts and regurgitating them. It’s about exploring this information through the act of making and doing, which is inspiring and encourages the children to see science from a different perspective.’ said Sarah.
The children were really keen to take part. Some children thoroughly enjoyed the information on space and others were passionate about art. Emma took them on a tour of the Universe, through the galaxies. Sarah encouraged them to explore different types of paper and how to work with them – cutting, folding, tearing, finding ways to make paper pop-up – encouraging a sense of ‘play’ to explore materials and discover new ways of working. The art initially began as a 2-D project (day 1) and progressed into 3-D art (day 2). When the children presented their work to their parents they were nervous but so proud. Sarah and Emma said that it was so rewarding to see how proud the parents were of what their children had achieved.
Sarah and Emma found it a great experience to work with such a fantastic group of children. In both schools, the students were curious, engaged, interested and keen to learn and help each other. The teachers from both schools were also a great support, happy to help us in any way and keen to display the work that was produced. They encouraged the children to ask questions, to be creative with their work and to fully embrace the knowledge they gained on space topics. They were also keen to display the various pieces the children produced.
As Sarah said, ‘It was an incredibly rewarding experience to work with the students, and to see them take pride in their learning and making – and hopefully to inspire them with their future career paths. I really think the creative side to the workshops helped to cement and underpin the science.’ Emma was just as enthusiastic adding, ‘In my opinion this project exceeded expectations. I found the pupils who were creative appreciated the beauty of celestial objects, which encouraged them to take an interest in space. What was most rewarding for me were the pupils who were reluctant to get involved due to lack of confidence in their work. When they realised that they could not go wrong, and after producing fantastic pieces, by the second workshop they were keen to show what they had done and were proud of their work.’
Sarah and Emma had some lovely feedback from the students and teachers, which from the students included: ‘This the best thing I’ve ever done in my whole life. I never thought I could make anything so epic and entertaining!’, ‘I loved this experience. I loved the cross of science and art. I didn’t really like science before but now I love it!’, ‘This science project inspired me to take science on board’, ‘This was super fun and one of the best things that I have done in school. I’m going to try the same art at home so I can do it again!‘. The teachers were equally enthusiastic reporting: ‘The learning took a variety of forms e.g. listening to experts, discussions, collaboration and individual work creating their art pieces. The resources that were provided were excellent and the children were interested in them and explored them creatively. The two days overall were a fantastic experience. The children and I and other members of staff enjoyed the presentations and hands-on practical work. The children gained a lot of knowledge and experience from these sessions and would love to take part in something like this in the future. Thank you for choosing us to take part in this project.’