STEM

Field Trip to Armagh Planetarium

Pupils launching their rockets

Our star-gazing Year 9 pupils visited the Planetarium in Armagh. Samantha C reports:

When our guide told us we were going to build a rocket and blast them into the air, I wasn’t expecting a table full of plastic bottles, cardboard templates, masking tape, a bag of grey powder/stones and colouring pencils. After the demonstration, we had just seven minutes to build and design our rockets.

We went outside to fill our creations with “fuel” – cold water! We had to be careful. If we filled the bottle too much it would be too heavy to launch into the sky. Not enough water and it would be too light.

I found it pretty interesting how water and air can launch a plastic bottle into the air. The distance it travelled was so surprising!

Meghana B

It was fascinating to learn how our the velocity of our rockets would be influenced by our designs. I really liked Katie and Anabell’s rocket because it made a HUGE bang when launched. Katie said she was a bit nervous in case it didn’t work but her rocket flew into the air until the cone and some of the fins exploded and it came crashing back to earth.

Back inside, our tour guide taught us about the real rockets that go into space. Did you know it takes six hours to reach the moon and one hour to orbit earth! Or that Wi-Fi in space is actually really good? Certain foods can’t be eaten on the rocket because the crumbs can become incredibly dangerous. My friend, Sophie, liked the facts about the astronauts the best. I was really intrigued by the facts about Mercury.

We then moved on to the Dome Theatre which was an amazing experience. We watched a video about the origins of the universe. The footage was projected across the massive ceiling to add even more excitement to the information. Here are some more facts we learnt:

  • carbon can increase the core of the sun, the sun is 10 million degrees;
  • the earth is 1000 million years old;
  • when a star blows up it is called a supernova;
  • nuclear fusion is the combination of two lighter atoms that make a heavy atom due to energy;
  • under the ocean there are cells that multiply;
  • there is a Volcano on Mars it is 3.2 km high; and
  • there are 82 moons on Saturn.
  • We also got to see our Solar System in more detail. At the very end there was a VR-like experience in which you were on a roller coaster going though space.

It was amazing to see our solar system in more detail, especially the planets which were very realistic. We were all interested to learn about the Big Bang and feel like we were with the rocks floating in space.

Bloomfield pupil in spacesuit
Mia the astronaut

I would like to thank the staff who helped to make the day so memorable: Dr Khamanra, Dr Katzen, Mr Driscoll, Mr Scott and Anne-Marie. We had great fun!

Reporting by Samantha C 9P

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