Uttlesford youngsters encouraged to “train like an astronaut”

SCHOOLCHILDREN from across Uttlesford have been encouraged to “train like an astronaut” as part of an international educational challenge.

Mountfitchet Maths and Computing College in Stansted hosted a visit from primary schools in Saffron Walden, Henham, Stansted and Elsenham at the end of last month, where children learnt about the importance of fitness and nutrition.

They also got the chance to fire homemade plastic rockets under the expert guidance of rocket scientist John London.

It was all part of the launch of an international initiative, known as ‘Mission X’, set up by NASA, the European Space Agency and UKSpace to promote healthy living in young learners around the world.

Schools from across the globe are taking part in the two-month challenge, including Katherine Semar Junior School, Mountfitchet Maths and Computing College, Bentfield and St Mary’s primary schools in Stansted and primary schools in Henham and Elsenham.

It involves students in Year’s 5 and 7 being given a number of missions to complete before the “landing date” on March 27, when it is hoped the children will receive a video call from NASA in Houston like they did last year.

Points are awarded to those who complete the training modules – which include learning about the make-up of bones, the importance of hydration and the need for good balance and endurance.

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The scheme is in its second year, having been a huge hit when Mountfitchet College hosted it in 2011, and is continuing to expand.

Charmain Dunham, head of the science and PE faculty at Mountfitchet College, took a leading role in this year’s event.

She said: “The main aim is to bring home the message of healthy eating and the importance of having a healthy lifestyle.

“It is about making it relevant to the children. By giving them missions to do, it lets them take ownership of their own learning.”

For more information, visit http://trainlikeanastronaut.org