In the presence of HE Professor Hamid Al-Naimiy, Chancellor of the University of Sharjah and the General Director of SCASS, and several VIP invitees, thirty students from all over the United Arab Emirates were enrolled in masterclasses delivered by Professor Anu Ojha OBE, Director of the UK National Space Academy and colleagues from the Sharjah Centre for Astronomy and Space Sciences, The student masterclasses were aimed at school students aged 15-18 who have a keen interest in space sciences.
These sessions were a combination of academic classes, practical hands-on sessions, and University tours. Several activities were carried out, including, the physics and engineering of space suit design – including the chance to examine a genuine Russian high-altitude stratospheric survival suit, Understanding planet Mars, including examination of a confirmed Martian meteorite, Using astronomy at all wavelengths, using spectrometers to analyze the solar spectrum and infra-red cameras to understand multispectral analysis, Science for the benefit of life on Earth, using Earth Observation and GPS data in real-time from satellites, as well as the Planetary orbits and human exploration beyond Earth orbit, and Presentations from the UAE Space Agency, Lockheed, the UK National Space Academy (NSA), as well as SCAS. It is worth noting that NSA is the UK's largest space education and skills development program. NSA trains over 1400 UK and international science teachers each year through its programs in the UK, for the European Space Agency (ESA) and in China.
The training sessions were delivered by Andy McMurray, head of the Teaching and Learning department at the National Space Academy and Sophie Allan, teacher at the National Space Academy Lead Physics, who used inspirational contexts from space science to boost teacher effectiveness in supporting curriculum of physics, mathematic and engineering.
Both of them work for the National Space Academy as outstanding practitioners of teaching and teacher training.
There were also training sessions delivered by the outstanding team of scientists and astronomers from SCASS and the University of Sharjah.
In the teacher training, attendees were able to gain a deeper understanding of space science themes and how they can be used as effective contexts to boost student understanding and attainment in school curriculum of physics/science, experience creative, engaging and effective mathematical modeling, hands-on and digital learning methodologies developed by the Academy for the UK and international education programs designed for the European Space Agency, and gain a deeper understanding of the UAE's space sector and space programs including the use of UAE space science contexts in school science teaching and the highlighting of possible career pathways for students into the UAE space sector and wider science and engineering careers.
The Student Masterclass and Teachers Training programs were mainly sponsored by the Sharjah Center for Astronomy and Space Sciences and the UK National Space Academy.
Professor Al- Naimiy accompanied by the invitees made a tour of the students experiments and was very pleased by the explanations given by the students themselves.
An end-of-event ceremony was held to award certificates of appreciation to the students, the teachers, and the UK National Space Academy team.