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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.


ARTISTS then worked with the students

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)

Pupils at St Mary’s CEP enjoyed two 2 and a half hour sessions exploring space with Helen Lindon for Dover Arts Development as part of 'STEM TO STEAM' 

Dover Arts Development is working with a network of schools, led by Astor College, on a STEAM initiative to help facilitate a strong link to develop between the arts and sciences at the participating schools through cross curricular and project based learning, underpinned by the concept of creativity across the curriculum.

Day 1​ 

We started with a slide presentation about colour and space, how we see, and how the use of colour has developed through evolution and how colour affects emotion. We then worked on practical exercises, seeing how the same colour would look different on different backgrounds and how we could make 'open' and 'closed' spaces with the coloured squares I'd brought. We then made a large group piece. 


Using the knowledge we had found so far, we then made paintings of 'space' with planets looking close to us and far away.


The children were a joy to work with... curious, full of questions and fully engaged from beginning to end and did some wonderful, wonderful work (see pics)



Day 2

We started the session with another slide presentation and talked about infinity and fractals in nature. It started with a picture of broccoli which caused very strong reactions! The students thoroughly enjoyed seeing what fractals were and we developed the idea that they could be tiny (down a microscope) and that they made up solar systems in the universe and could be infinite (through a telescope).


As our practical task this time, I'd made up lots of balls of wool for the students to make individual loops - elements of a wool 'fractal sculpture'. It was amazing to see how they organised themselves into groups to help each other, to divide up the tasks and to work together to make a large piece of work. I believe Ally will be carrying on with this sculpture...I do hope so! The children were lively and engaged all afternoon and asked searching questions...we were able to discuss how important curiosity is and finding things out. That science and art are both based on this urge to find out.


We finished the day looking at a piece of my work about Climate Change, talked about the impact that humans have had on our beautiful planet.


As you can see, we covered some massive subjects but the slide shows and the practical tasks worked well together and the children absorbed a huge amount which showed in the questions at the end.

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The overarching STEM TO STEAM theme has been identified as ‘the Universe’ and our STEM partner is the University of Kent. The School of Physical Sciences Astrodome visits schools across Kent seeing an average of 4000 students throughout the academic year.


Inside the dome the student demonstrators are able to take the students on a tour of the solar system using the software Stellarium, which is free to download at home, as well as show short animated films from NSC Creative about Alien Life and the Electromagnetic Spectrum. The Astrodome is a free activity for schools to book through the SPS website

The project will provide CPD opportunities for teachers, Arts award opportunities for students and result in a resource for the schools and teachers to share. The participating schools will also work towards achieving Artsmark status

Participating Schools:

  • Astor College

  • St Mary’s CEP, Dover

  • Temple Ewell Primary School

  • St Richards Primary School

  • Goodwin Academy


Supported with investment from Artswork, the South East Bridge

The class teacher commented: 


We were blown away by your work, the children will be talking about it for days to come.


We will be twirling wool for relaxation and completing our fractal wool sculpture. I was proud of their questions and reflective team work.



And some enthusiastic Pupil voice:

  • Katana: I loved working with Helen. It was fun.

  • Jozef: I liked making my planets look far away. 

  • Harry: I found it hard to make a wool loop but Emilia helped me and it was much easier.

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