A record number of egg astronauts blasted off from Ullswater Community College (UCC) in Penrith this month – thanks to the careful preparation of parachutes and space capsules by primary school pupils from across Eden. The activity was part of the ‘UCC Science Taster Day’ sessions which help primary school pupils get to know more about secondary school.

Eggs at schoolAlmost 500 Year 5 pupils from 31 primary schools around Eden took part in the Science Taster Days which give the youngsters a chance to discover more about science and getting acquainted with the school labs. As well as encouraging applications for secondary school places, one of the key aims is to ignite a passion for science.

Science sessions included identifying ‘DNA’ in strawberries and creating a prototype shuttle that lands an astronaut-scientist back to earth.  The Lakes Free Range Egg Company (The Lakes) provided the eggs which represented the astronaut blasting off and returning to earth in a shuttle and Sainsbury’s provided the strawberries which were used to extract DNA from ‘alien’ samples collected.

UCC Science Teacher Alex Ford, who organises the event, said “The egg astronaut topic is always a firm favourite with staff and pupils who join us remember it for years. With budgets getting tighter we are very grateful for the support we’ve received over the years from The Lakes Free Range Egg Company. Not only do they continue to supply us with cases of eggs, they also come along and get involved alongside staff from Sainsbury’s who provide our strawberries.

“This year, our Biology teacher Mr. Bambury, changed the format slightly – all the teams blasted their astronauts off from a rocket on the playing field – it was even more exciting, and the kids loved it. We’re pleased to say almost all the astronauts landed safely without cracking.”

Helen Brass from The Lakes Free Range Egg Company said “Coming along and taking part in the eggsperiments is great fun and we have some great conversations with the kids about eggs.  Living in a rural area, we are lucky – most kids know how eggs are produced, so questions were around how our hens live free range and about what we do to look after our environment. We are always impressed by how much pupils know about taking care of our planet.

“We chatted about recycling, reusing and cutting waste and of course, plastic was a hot topic too. Our egg boxes are made of recycled cardboard and our facilities have a very low carbon footprint, so for a company so focused on sustainability it’s really encouraging to see how much it matters to the next generation.”Lakesburys

Joining Helen Brass to take part at the Science Taster Day was Wendy Blake from Sainsbury’s. Together the duo formed ‘Team Lakesbury’s’ building an astronaut capsule which successfully landed intact. Wendy said “The kids came up with some great team names including the Eggstreme Team, Yolk Capsule, Eggtastic, Eggsquisite and Eggcellent 3.

“It was my first year taking part so it was great to see how the pupils created parachutes and capsules from as little recycled material as possible – they had some ingenious ways of reusing plastic and have a lot of knowledge about waste – and needless to say, a few questions on the single-use plastic bags too.

“This year, Sainsbury’s is removing over 2,560 tonnes of plastic and the kids will see that in store too – by September, we will have removed plastic produce and bakery bags – cutting another 489 tonnes’ worth of plastic from the business.”

Taking part in the Science Taster Day gave pupils the chance to build confidence about secondary school, learn about eggs and more about recycling.  Eden schools taking part were:

Kirkoswold, Calthwaite, Lazonby, Plumpton, Tebay, Penruddock, Greystoke, Beaconside, North Lakes, Hunter Hall, Lowther, Orton, Yanwath, High Hesket, Patterdale, Langwathby, Crosby Ravensworth, Asby, Bolton, Long Marton, Culgaith, Temple Sowerby, Kirkby Thore, Ivegill, Wreay, Clifton, Stainton, St Catherines, Skelton, Morland, Armathwaite.