School Children Reach for the Stars at Leicester Royal Infirmary
On 5 March, a grant from the Institute of Physics enabled some of our students to have a lesson in the StarDome – a portable planetarium supplied by the National Space Centre. It was set up in the physio gym at Leicester Royal Infirmary. Children and young people could go inside with their families without compromising anyone’s medical care.
“Many children who attend our school while in hospital have, out of necessity, not regularly been to mainstream schools. Left unaddressed, this can cause disadvantages as they progress into careers.
“We aim to recapture children’s natural interest in science so we look for original, captivating exercises we can provide within hospital settings,” explained Stephen Deadman, head teacher at Children’s Hospital School Leicester.
The StarDome wowed the children, giving them a 360-degree view of star constellations and planets while they learnt about the physics and Greek mythology behind them.
Follow-up lessons for children who are not mobile will involve the use of LEGO Mindstorms EV3 to inspire them in creating programmable robots.
The science teachers at Children’s Hospital School Leicester, including Stephen himself, are solving a long-standing problem within hospital schools. In a hospital setting it’s difficult – if not impossible – to set up the science demonstrations and experiments that take place in mainstream schools. The team at the Children’s Hospital School is working hard to change this by introducing innovative, novel science teaching practices that they hope will be adopted by other teachers working in similar settings.
“We want to be able to do more, and are in the midst of setting up a charity to help achieve this. The school needs financial and practical support from organisations and individuals to help us continue providing extra accessible input like the planetarium to inspire young minds,” concluded Stephen.