An out of this world school trip to Euro Space Center in Belgium
26 Jan 2018, 16:46
You don't have to search the galaxy to find the perfect science school trip
Taking the Eurotunnel from Folkestone, we broke up the journey by staying the night at Hotel du Moulin aux Draps in the beautiful Opal Coast of France. Première de réception Stephanie was wonderful as ever and the hotel was accommodating with our late arrival by providing a buffet, including the all-important French cheese and wine!
After a good night's sleep in the comfortable rooms at Hotel du Moulin, we awoke bright and early for breakfast before heading onwards to our main destination: Belgium. Shane, our Pegasus Coaches driver, was fantastic and got all 50 of us there in one piece through the snow we encountered in Belgium (a welcome sight for the kids on the trip—not so much for the targets of their snowballs.)
After a warm welcome from the staff at Euro Space Center and a moment to drop our bags in our bright hostel-style rooms, we were whisked off for our astronaut initiation. Our Euro Space guide, Joseph, had the undivided attention of everyone in the room with his engaging and humorous presentation of the science and physics behind space travel with videos and live demonstrations.
An awe-inspiring educational activity programme for science pupils
We split into groups to make our way through the activity programme to make sure we could experience as much as we could during our 2-day condensed school science trip programme. Inside the Planetarium, a projector transformed the ceiling into an interactive night sky. The extremely knowledgeable guide talked us through the history of the constellations and how our understanding of the solar system and beyond has evolved over time. The guide informed us about how the presentation can be tailored to suit students of all age groups, from primary to GCSE Science students.
Our next activity was a space shuttle take off simulation. Each group member was given a role, which we played as we sat at our stations in the mock NASA control rooms. We communicated with each other through a script on-screen using microphones and video link. Roger that!
In the evening we headed to Bouillon for a dinner of Moules-frites before a torch-lit tour of Bouillon castle. We explored the castle as two groups and our local guides were brilliant, their passion and historical knowledge of the castle and the crusade made for a truly unforgettable experience.
There's no other science school trip like this
Our second and final day at Euro Space Center was jam-packed with fun and interactive microgravity simulations. The groups rotated between the head-spinning multi-axis chair, the VR Moonwalk, the rotating chair and the microgravity wall. On the microgravity wall, your weight is balanced by a water tank, sending you shooting up when you move and giving the feeling of weightlessness. You must force yourself back down using the wall as you repair a makeshift satellite!
We finished our time at Euro Space with a rocket-making workshop, which brought out the competitive side in all the adults. The rockets were then launched by an electric charge outside, where they shot up 250-300 metres!
Our time at Euro Space Center was an enriching and engaging learning experience for everyone involved and certainly inspired a new interest in all things space and science. Think your class of budding scientists are up to the challenge?