Taking learning to another dimension
Merseyside’s latest and most imaginative tourist attraction is
proving to be a big hit with schoolchildren from across the region.
The £10 million venture, which opened last month, is based in a
listed building at Mersey Ferries Seacombe Terminal.
Councillor Mark Dowd, chair of Merseytravel, which owns both the
Mersey Ferries and Spaceport, said:- “We said Spaceport would
be both educational and entertaining and so it has proved. The
response from schools has been overwhelming.”
Now free special educational activity packs are to be launched to
help teachers guide school parties on their journey through space.
Ken Moss, Spaceport Manager, said:- "We have enlisted the help
of teachers to produce these free educational packs.
They will include details about all the interactive activities and
displays, as well as worksheets, quizzes and an information guide
about our facilities.
The idea is to give teachers all the information and advice they
will need for bringing in groups of pupils, including help with
things such as risk assessments, so that children can enjoy the
exhibits and activities whilst learning at the same time.”
Developed in partnership with the Astrophysics Research Institute of
Liverpool John Moores University, Spaceport has been designed for
education and enjoyment, making it the UK’s premier space
The content of Spaceport already closely covers topics in the
National Curriculum at Key Stages 2 and 3 (seven to 14 year olds).
It also covers topics in Key Stage 4 and most of the GCSE Astronomy
Topics such as the position of the Sun, Moon and Earth, phases of
the moon, the cause of seasons and the order of the Solar System,
covered within one of the areas of Spaceport, are all elements
contained within the Key Stage 3 curriculum.
The National Schools’
Observatory element of the attraction covers areas of the curriculum
including eclipses and the apparent movement of the stars in the
The education pack gives
handy pre-visit tips on teaching Year 5 and Year 7 Space topics
using the National Schools’ Observatory website. It also includes a
‘Hunting for Asteroids’ workshop as a follow up to their visit where
children can carry out real research and, if they find an asteroid,
they can report it back.
Mr Moss added:- “One of the great attractions of Spaceport for
schoolchildren is that they can learn something useful and
interesting in a fun way.
There are interactive exhibits that help explain concepts which are
sometimes difficult to teach in the classroom such as tides,
seasons, phases of the moon, gravity and the order, structure and
evolution of the solar system.
It’s not all learning of course, we have some fantastic exhibits
including six Starchaser rockets and the world’s first
privately-manned rocket capsule.
Spaceport also houses interactive activities that showcase the
National Schools Observatory, an initiative that enables school
children to use one of the largest multi-million pound robotic
telescopes in the world, via the Internet, and carry out research
just like real astronomers.”
A leaflet giving details about the educational packs will be
distributed to schools across the Northwest in the second week of
September, as schools return from their summer breaks. The free
education pack will follow shortly after.
The aim is to help schools’ build the package and visits into their
curriculum planning for up and coming terms.
Spaceport was launched earlier this year, which is also Einstein
Year, the aim being to get more young people excited about physics.
Neil Scales, Chief Executive and Director General of Merseytravel,
said:- “Spaceport was launched as part of our overall strategy
to ensure a sound financial future for Mersey Ferries which are
already the most popular paid-for tourist attraction in the region.
Its success will also provide a welcome boost to the local economy.”
Spaceport opens at 10.30am six days per week, closing on Mondays
except for all of August when Spaceport remains open seven days per
week. Last Admission is 4pm and it closes at 5.30pm.
Excluding Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day, Spaceport is
open on Bank Holidays.
Prices for admission are Adult £6.95, Child £4.50, Concession £4.95
and Family (2 adults and up to 3 children) £18.95.
Adults must accompany children under 14 years.
For school groups one teacher or teaching assistant goes free with
every six children provided the school is booked in advance on 0151