Big Steam Day

Schools and arts award

The Launch of the Steam Universe project took place on 23 March 2017. Our Stem partner, the University of Kent, brought along their inflatable Astrodome and students from the five participating schools spend over half an hour inside it learning about space, planets and galaxies with PhD students in physics.

They also spent the day thinking about what a planet is and reflecting on what they had learnt during taster sessions with the 5 artists working with us on the project. The students were asked to think about the following questions:

  • What is a planet?
  • How do planets move?
  • What do they look/sound/smell/feel like?
  • What types of life could live on them?
  • What would life be like for us on another planet?
  • How many are there?

The taster sessions were led by:

  • Greg Stobbs (personal planets and solar systems)
  • Cherry Truluck (lab teams designing life forms that would survive on the different planets)
  • Helen Lindon (large collaborative drawing: thinking about infinity and distance)
  • Chloe Mead (Dance/movement and planets)
  • Benjamin Hunt (animation, humans of the future and life on the planets)

The demonstrators and I were very impressed by the students from all of the schools, many of whom asked questions on a range of topics which were not included in the talk, such as ‘Is there alien life?’, ‘What’s inside a black hole?’ and ‘How many galaxies are there in the universe?’. It was also fantastic to see them put into practice the information they had learnt inside the dome while creating their collaborative pieces, usually with dome sessions we do not get to see the students afterwards so are often unsure if they’ve actually learnt anything new while in the dome. (Cordelia Scott, University of Kent)