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Astronomy at the Weekendschool in Groningen

Submitter: Roy Smits
Description: The IMC Weekendschool provides additional education to motivated youngsters from the age of 10 to 14 from low socio-economic areas. The lessons are given by professionals working in different fields. This helps the children to gain a broader view on their future prospects.

On Sunday 9 and 16 January, the students of the Weekendschool Groningen had lessons from Hugo Buddelmeijer (RUG) and Roy Smits (ASTRON / Univ. of Manchester). One of these lessons involved a short introduction to space-exploration after which the children were given the assignment to construct an actual Mars-lander that could land an astronaut (chocolate éclair) intact after a two-metre drop. The results were astounding, as the pictures show. More than half the `astronauts' survived the free-fall thanks to cushions, airbags and parachutes, all constructed by the children from very basic materials. The lesson was complemented by a team from SRON who educated the children in launching rockets.

Sadly though, all surviving astronauts got eaten in the end.

More information about the IMC Weekendschool can be found at: http://www.imcweekendschool.nl
Copyright: IMC Weekendschool Groningen
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