Unlimited Space Agency - Research & Development

Lead Research Organisation: Unlimited Theatre
Department Name: Headquarters

Abstract

AIMS
- to inspire more children (with a focus on girls and young women) to pursue STEM subjects and careers
- to do that, in part, by highlighting the British astronaut Tim Peake's role as a *scientist* while he trains and then flies to the International Space Station
- in the process to research what children aged 7-13 *want* to know about space and science (as opposed to what *we think* they want to know)
- in so doing, we will generate valuable data that will be used to design projects and learning materials for future phases of the project and disseminated amongst peers for similar use.

Planned Impact

The main channels that we will use to distribute our resources are:

- the new website that will be built to profile Tim Peake's training and mission
- the Unlimited Space Agency's channel that we will create on the Makewaves platform http://www.makewav.es

We are highly aware that just making a website doesn't mean that people will use it however... we have developed a sector leading reputation for digital innovation and are highly experienced at developing audiences for new digital platforms - for example, we have just completed a major research project for NESTA investigating new ways of publishing plays through a new platform created for digital devices which has generated huge interest in the performing arts sector and have recently been funded by the Technology Strategy Board to research and develop new methodologies for collaborative software design.

We will primarily create awareness of the new site through our existing Twitter and Facebook channels where we have more than 5000 followers, many of whom are loyal and passionate advocates for our work and regularly share, repost or retweet postings about our projects. We would hope that our patron Tim Peake will be able to alert his many followers to the project on his social media channels as well.

We will also create and distribute media releases for targeted arts, science and education journalists and bloggers as well as sharing the results of our research in a paper that we will publish on our website.

Most significantly, the new channel we will develop on Makewaves (provided free of charge) will reach many thousands of active users and schools. Makewaves are keen supporters of the project and have committed to regularly featuring the Unlimited Space Agency on their front page and promoting new content as it comes live.

We have a developing relationship with both the European Space Agency and UK Space Agency education departments that we hope to continue developing in order to raise awareness of our project/s through their existing channels and networks. Similarly we hope to develop a mutually beneficial networking relationship with Mission X.

Publications

10 25 50
 
Title Film, characters and live chat 
Description Seven films written and shot to run alongside 'missions' and science challenges. The films incorporated a live character and an animated character to inspire the participants to engage with science learning. These characters also engaged with participants live (as 'friends') through the secure chat room on the digital platform - so creating a living narrative responsive to participants' questions and thoughts. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact The film works and the live chat by the characters significantly boosted engagement. For example - when the fictional character 'Mini Jon' went missing the traffic on the digital platform increased with children trying to contact and encourage the character to resume his astronaut training. 
URL https://www.makewav.es/unspaceagency
 
Title Live event at the Science Museum 
Description The live event took the form of a graduation ceremony for approximately 25 participants and their teachers or home educators. It was held in the IMAX cinema at the Science Museum, London. The event was hosted by two of the characters from the filmed narrative and was underpinned by film of children's work from across the country and a showing of the live rocket launch of astronaut Tim Peake to the International Space Station. 
Type Of Art Film/Video/Animation 
Year Produced 2015 
Impact The event generated spontaneous positive feedback from students, teachers and home educators demonstrating that this event was important in sustaining the participants' interest in science and science learning. We have had written feedback after the event suggesting that this had been an important part of children's experience of the project and their ongoing motivation for science learning. 
 
Description We are currently writing a full evaluation report in partnership with a research specialist. However, from feedback from teachers and home educators at this point we can say the following:
Participating students were excited by and engaged with the project over six weeks
Students were driven to experiment and learn through their relationship with the story and the characters featuring in the narrative
Students were excited by the story aligning with astronaut Tim Peake's real trip to the International Space Station
The project is demanding for teachers - and whilst they are very positive about its value and the way it enhanced children's' engagement in science learning, many would take their own time to prepare and deliver the project rather than stick to the 'live' time frame set out.
Teachers found the lesson plan material comprehensive and aligned to the curriculum.
Home educators found it very valuable to have this resource available and were particularly positive about the difference it made to their teaching.
Exploitation Route The project has demonstrated the impact and value of informal and creative learning experiences to support and underpin education.
The Makewaves interface, the detailed lesson plans and their format, the creative approach to engagement in science learning and the inspiration of aligning fiction with a real life live event is a model of good practice for participatory arts and informal learning projects. Once the full evaluation report has been prepared this can be distributed and contribute to learning within the arts and education sectors.
Now that the model has been tested we will explore the potential for future projects of this sort.
Sectors Creative Economy,Digital/Communication/Information Technologies (including Software),Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections

 
Description The development of the Unlimited Space Agency (UNSA) site emulated an authentic Space Agency public interface and this proved a valuable spring board for maintaining a consistent identity for the development of the project. Every step of the way the project development enshrined the concept that UNSA is a real, working space agency even down to staff job titles. Participating schools, partners and funders bought into this world and it became a fundamental approach to inspiring children to engage and learn through the project. All subsequent assets were professionally designed to build the impression of a real space agency for which participants were working and progressing from UNSA cadets to UNSA agents. The initial questionnaire formed as part of the research set the tone for the ongoing evaluation of the project - ensuring that respondents felt they were being consulted rather than measured. The research fed into and blended with the overarching project with the following impact: A six week engagement project Six weekly missions designed with specialist science partners 5719 participants from 264 schools and 205 home educators 12,356 mission digital badges were awarded plus 276 with missions completed and badges waiting to be approved. One live graduation event for 400 participants Full evaluation report in partnership with a research specialist (currently being written)
First Year Of Impact 2015
Sector Education,Culture, Heritage, Museums and Collections
Impact Types Cultural

 
Description Foyle Foundation Main Grant Scheme - Arts
Amount £20,000 (GBP)
Organisation Foyle Foundation 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country Unknown
Start 02/2015 
End 03/2016
 
Description Garfield Weston Main Grants
Amount £10,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 74936/2015/110825 
Organisation Garfield Weston Foundation 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country United Kingdom
Start 02/2015 
End 03/2016
 
Description Paul Hamlyn Foundation Arts Open Grants Scheme
Amount £50,000 (GBP)
Funding ID 8017/28690 
Organisation Paul Hamlyn Foundation 
Sector Charity/Non Profit
Country Unknown
Start 03/2015 
End 03/2016
 
Description The Astro Science Challenge partnership framework 
Organisation British Science Association
Department Education
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Learned Society 
PI Contribution Partnerships were always a vital component to the research and to setting the framework for development of The Astro science Challenge. Through the STFC award we were able to build the Unlimited Space Agency (UNSA) website with an authentic 'space agency' look and feel. This and the producing of the questionnaire gave a foundation to the project and rapidly led to the establishing of a number of key partnerships critical to realising the project. Our main contribution to this partnership approach was to lead and coordinate a major project that grew out of and dovetailed with the research due to the time-critical opportunity presented by Tim Peake's rocket launch to the International Space Station in December 2015. All partners were keen to align the project to this date and so the imperative to build a project quickly but effectively drove our activities. We coordinated collaborative workshop sessions with all partners to generate science content for The Astro Science Challenge missions and we then built these into the story-narrative for the project. We maintained ongoing dialogue with all partners for fact-checking and project updates. We filmed specialist videos with each partner organisation to add value to the story narrative. We planned and created a live event at the Science Museum to mark the culmination of the narrative and participants engagement in the project We worked with all partners to develop professionally written and specially designed a lesson plans for teachers
Collaborator Contribution All partners contributed specialist and current science content to build in to the project. Partners commented on all material developed, fact-checking and supporting the development of the narrative and all key information Partners provided detailed information on: The planet Earth and the ISS Space weather Living in space Fit for space Coding Building and launching rockets Our digital partner redesigned their secure social networking platform to accommodate the project
Impact Creation of six missions each with a related science challenge Creation of a live engagement event for 400 children 200 schools and 100 home learners engaged in the project with 6000 children participating Research questionnaires designed and delivered to inform the narrative content and educational focus of the project New dedicated website created and live
Start Year 2015
 
Description The Astro Science Challenge partnership framework 
Organisation Coney
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Partnerships were always a vital component to the research and to setting the framework for development of The Astro science Challenge. Through the STFC award we were able to build the Unlimited Space Agency (UNSA) website with an authentic 'space agency' look and feel. This and the producing of the questionnaire gave a foundation to the project and rapidly led to the establishing of a number of key partnerships critical to realising the project. Our main contribution to this partnership approach was to lead and coordinate a major project that grew out of and dovetailed with the research due to the time-critical opportunity presented by Tim Peake's rocket launch to the International Space Station in December 2015. All partners were keen to align the project to this date and so the imperative to build a project quickly but effectively drove our activities. We coordinated collaborative workshop sessions with all partners to generate science content for The Astro Science Challenge missions and we then built these into the story-narrative for the project. We maintained ongoing dialogue with all partners for fact-checking and project updates. We filmed specialist videos with each partner organisation to add value to the story narrative. We planned and created a live event at the Science Museum to mark the culmination of the narrative and participants engagement in the project We worked with all partners to develop professionally written and specially designed a lesson plans for teachers
Collaborator Contribution All partners contributed specialist and current science content to build in to the project. Partners commented on all material developed, fact-checking and supporting the development of the narrative and all key information Partners provided detailed information on: The planet Earth and the ISS Space weather Living in space Fit for space Coding Building and launching rockets Our digital partner redesigned their secure social networking platform to accommodate the project
Impact Creation of six missions each with a related science challenge Creation of a live engagement event for 400 children 200 schools and 100 home learners engaged in the project with 6000 children participating Research questionnaires designed and delivered to inform the narrative content and educational focus of the project New dedicated website created and live
Start Year 2015
 
Description The Astro Science Challenge partnership framework 
Organisation European Space Agency
Country France 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Partnerships were always a vital component to the research and to setting the framework for development of The Astro science Challenge. Through the STFC award we were able to build the Unlimited Space Agency (UNSA) website with an authentic 'space agency' look and feel. This and the producing of the questionnaire gave a foundation to the project and rapidly led to the establishing of a number of key partnerships critical to realising the project. Our main contribution to this partnership approach was to lead and coordinate a major project that grew out of and dovetailed with the research due to the time-critical opportunity presented by Tim Peake's rocket launch to the International Space Station in December 2015. All partners were keen to align the project to this date and so the imperative to build a project quickly but effectively drove our activities. We coordinated collaborative workshop sessions with all partners to generate science content for The Astro Science Challenge missions and we then built these into the story-narrative for the project. We maintained ongoing dialogue with all partners for fact-checking and project updates. We filmed specialist videos with each partner organisation to add value to the story narrative. We planned and created a live event at the Science Museum to mark the culmination of the narrative and participants engagement in the project We worked with all partners to develop professionally written and specially designed a lesson plans for teachers
Collaborator Contribution All partners contributed specialist and current science content to build in to the project. Partners commented on all material developed, fact-checking and supporting the development of the narrative and all key information Partners provided detailed information on: The planet Earth and the ISS Space weather Living in space Fit for space Coding Building and launching rockets Our digital partner redesigned their secure social networking platform to accommodate the project
Impact Creation of six missions each with a related science challenge Creation of a live engagement event for 400 children 200 schools and 100 home learners engaged in the project with 6000 children participating Research questionnaires designed and delivered to inform the narrative content and educational focus of the project New dedicated website created and live
Start Year 2015
 
Description The Astro Science Challenge partnership framework 
Organisation MakeWaves
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Private 
PI Contribution Partnerships were always a vital component to the research and to setting the framework for development of The Astro science Challenge. Through the STFC award we were able to build the Unlimited Space Agency (UNSA) website with an authentic 'space agency' look and feel. This and the producing of the questionnaire gave a foundation to the project and rapidly led to the establishing of a number of key partnerships critical to realising the project. Our main contribution to this partnership approach was to lead and coordinate a major project that grew out of and dovetailed with the research due to the time-critical opportunity presented by Tim Peake's rocket launch to the International Space Station in December 2015. All partners were keen to align the project to this date and so the imperative to build a project quickly but effectively drove our activities. We coordinated collaborative workshop sessions with all partners to generate science content for The Astro Science Challenge missions and we then built these into the story-narrative for the project. We maintained ongoing dialogue with all partners for fact-checking and project updates. We filmed specialist videos with each partner organisation to add value to the story narrative. We planned and created a live event at the Science Museum to mark the culmination of the narrative and participants engagement in the project We worked with all partners to develop professionally written and specially designed a lesson plans for teachers
Collaborator Contribution All partners contributed specialist and current science content to build in to the project. Partners commented on all material developed, fact-checking and supporting the development of the narrative and all key information Partners provided detailed information on: The planet Earth and the ISS Space weather Living in space Fit for space Coding Building and launching rockets Our digital partner redesigned their secure social networking platform to accommodate the project
Impact Creation of six missions each with a related science challenge Creation of a live engagement event for 400 children 200 schools and 100 home learners engaged in the project with 6000 children participating Research questionnaires designed and delivered to inform the narrative content and educational focus of the project New dedicated website created and live
Start Year 2015
 
Description The Astro Science Challenge partnership framework 
Organisation Meteorological Office UK
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Partnerships were always a vital component to the research and to setting the framework for development of The Astro science Challenge. Through the STFC award we were able to build the Unlimited Space Agency (UNSA) website with an authentic 'space agency' look and feel. This and the producing of the questionnaire gave a foundation to the project and rapidly led to the establishing of a number of key partnerships critical to realising the project. Our main contribution to this partnership approach was to lead and coordinate a major project that grew out of and dovetailed with the research due to the time-critical opportunity presented by Tim Peake's rocket launch to the International Space Station in December 2015. All partners were keen to align the project to this date and so the imperative to build a project quickly but effectively drove our activities. We coordinated collaborative workshop sessions with all partners to generate science content for The Astro Science Challenge missions and we then built these into the story-narrative for the project. We maintained ongoing dialogue with all partners for fact-checking and project updates. We filmed specialist videos with each partner organisation to add value to the story narrative. We planned and created a live event at the Science Museum to mark the culmination of the narrative and participants engagement in the project We worked with all partners to develop professionally written and specially designed a lesson plans for teachers
Collaborator Contribution All partners contributed specialist and current science content to build in to the project. Partners commented on all material developed, fact-checking and supporting the development of the narrative and all key information Partners provided detailed information on: The planet Earth and the ISS Space weather Living in space Fit for space Coding Building and launching rockets Our digital partner redesigned their secure social networking platform to accommodate the project
Impact Creation of six missions each with a related science challenge Creation of a live engagement event for 400 children 200 schools and 100 home learners engaged in the project with 6000 children participating Research questionnaires designed and delivered to inform the narrative content and educational focus of the project New dedicated website created and live
Start Year 2015
 
Description The Astro Science Challenge partnership framework 
Organisation Royal Observatory Greenwich
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Partnerships were always a vital component to the research and to setting the framework for development of The Astro science Challenge. Through the STFC award we were able to build the Unlimited Space Agency (UNSA) website with an authentic 'space agency' look and feel. This and the producing of the questionnaire gave a foundation to the project and rapidly led to the establishing of a number of key partnerships critical to realising the project. Our main contribution to this partnership approach was to lead and coordinate a major project that grew out of and dovetailed with the research due to the time-critical opportunity presented by Tim Peake's rocket launch to the International Space Station in December 2015. All partners were keen to align the project to this date and so the imperative to build a project quickly but effectively drove our activities. We coordinated collaborative workshop sessions with all partners to generate science content for The Astro Science Challenge missions and we then built these into the story-narrative for the project. We maintained ongoing dialogue with all partners for fact-checking and project updates. We filmed specialist videos with each partner organisation to add value to the story narrative. We planned and created a live event at the Science Museum to mark the culmination of the narrative and participants engagement in the project We worked with all partners to develop professionally written and specially designed a lesson plans for teachers
Collaborator Contribution All partners contributed specialist and current science content to build in to the project. Partners commented on all material developed, fact-checking and supporting the development of the narrative and all key information Partners provided detailed information on: The planet Earth and the ISS Space weather Living in space Fit for space Coding Building and launching rockets Our digital partner redesigned their secure social networking platform to accommodate the project
Impact Creation of six missions each with a related science challenge Creation of a live engagement event for 400 children 200 schools and 100 home learners engaged in the project with 6000 children participating Research questionnaires designed and delivered to inform the narrative content and educational focus of the project New dedicated website created and live
Start Year 2015
 
Description The Astro Science Challenge partnership framework 
Organisation Science Museum Group
Department The Science Museum
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Partnerships were always a vital component to the research and to setting the framework for development of The Astro science Challenge. Through the STFC award we were able to build the Unlimited Space Agency (UNSA) website with an authentic 'space agency' look and feel. This and the producing of the questionnaire gave a foundation to the project and rapidly led to the establishing of a number of key partnerships critical to realising the project. Our main contribution to this partnership approach was to lead and coordinate a major project that grew out of and dovetailed with the research due to the time-critical opportunity presented by Tim Peake's rocket launch to the International Space Station in December 2015. All partners were keen to align the project to this date and so the imperative to build a project quickly but effectively drove our activities. We coordinated collaborative workshop sessions with all partners to generate science content for The Astro Science Challenge missions and we then built these into the story-narrative for the project. We maintained ongoing dialogue with all partners for fact-checking and project updates. We filmed specialist videos with each partner organisation to add value to the story narrative. We planned and created a live event at the Science Museum to mark the culmination of the narrative and participants engagement in the project We worked with all partners to develop professionally written and specially designed a lesson plans for teachers
Collaborator Contribution All partners contributed specialist and current science content to build in to the project. Partners commented on all material developed, fact-checking and supporting the development of the narrative and all key information Partners provided detailed information on: The planet Earth and the ISS Space weather Living in space Fit for space Coding Building and launching rockets Our digital partner redesigned their secure social networking platform to accommodate the project
Impact Creation of six missions each with a related science challenge Creation of a live engagement event for 400 children 200 schools and 100 home learners engaged in the project with 6000 children participating Research questionnaires designed and delivered to inform the narrative content and educational focus of the project New dedicated website created and live
Start Year 2015
 
Description The Astro Science Challenge partnership framework 
Organisation UK Space Agency
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Public 
PI Contribution Partnerships were always a vital component to the research and to setting the framework for development of The Astro science Challenge. Through the STFC award we were able to build the Unlimited Space Agency (UNSA) website with an authentic 'space agency' look and feel. This and the producing of the questionnaire gave a foundation to the project and rapidly led to the establishing of a number of key partnerships critical to realising the project. Our main contribution to this partnership approach was to lead and coordinate a major project that grew out of and dovetailed with the research due to the time-critical opportunity presented by Tim Peake's rocket launch to the International Space Station in December 2015. All partners were keen to align the project to this date and so the imperative to build a project quickly but effectively drove our activities. We coordinated collaborative workshop sessions with all partners to generate science content for The Astro Science Challenge missions and we then built these into the story-narrative for the project. We maintained ongoing dialogue with all partners for fact-checking and project updates. We filmed specialist videos with each partner organisation to add value to the story narrative. We planned and created a live event at the Science Museum to mark the culmination of the narrative and participants engagement in the project We worked with all partners to develop professionally written and specially designed a lesson plans for teachers
Collaborator Contribution All partners contributed specialist and current science content to build in to the project. Partners commented on all material developed, fact-checking and supporting the development of the narrative and all key information Partners provided detailed information on: The planet Earth and the ISS Space weather Living in space Fit for space Coding Building and launching rockets Our digital partner redesigned their secure social networking platform to accommodate the project
Impact Creation of six missions each with a related science challenge Creation of a live engagement event for 400 children 200 schools and 100 home learners engaged in the project with 6000 children participating Research questionnaires designed and delivered to inform the narrative content and educational focus of the project New dedicated website created and live
Start Year 2015
 
Description The Astro Science Challenge partnership framework 
Organisation Young Rewired State
Country United Kingdom 
Sector Charity/Non Profit 
PI Contribution Partnerships were always a vital component to the research and to setting the framework for development of The Astro science Challenge. Through the STFC award we were able to build the Unlimited Space Agency (UNSA) website with an authentic 'space agency' look and feel. This and the producing of the questionnaire gave a foundation to the project and rapidly led to the establishing of a number of key partnerships critical to realising the project. Our main contribution to this partnership approach was to lead and coordinate a major project that grew out of and dovetailed with the research due to the time-critical opportunity presented by Tim Peake's rocket launch to the International Space Station in December 2015. All partners were keen to align the project to this date and so the imperative to build a project quickly but effectively drove our activities. We coordinated collaborative workshop sessions with all partners to generate science content for The Astro Science Challenge missions and we then built these into the story-narrative for the project. We maintained ongoing dialogue with all partners for fact-checking and project updates. We filmed specialist videos with each partner organisation to add value to the story narrative. We planned and created a live event at the Science Museum to mark the culmination of the narrative and participants engagement in the project We worked with all partners to develop professionally written and specially designed a lesson plans for teachers
Collaborator Contribution All partners contributed specialist and current science content to build in to the project. Partners commented on all material developed, fact-checking and supporting the development of the narrative and all key information Partners provided detailed information on: The planet Earth and the ISS Space weather Living in space Fit for space Coding Building and launching rockets Our digital partner redesigned their secure social networking platform to accommodate the project
Impact Creation of six missions each with a related science challenge Creation of a live engagement event for 400 children 200 schools and 100 home learners engaged in the project with 6000 children participating Research questionnaires designed and delivered to inform the narrative content and educational focus of the project New dedicated website created and live
Start Year 2015
 
Description Participant engagement 
Form Of Engagement Activity Participation in an activity, workshop or similar
Part Of Official Scheme? No
Geographic Reach National
Primary Audience Schools
Results and Impact The Astro Science Challenge engaged children in science learning through three key components:
- Creative engagement
- Narrative and storytelling
- Using drama and character-based contact with children to engage them in real life events and science-related activity

All material was delivered online through a secure social network platform for schools.
The opportunity resulted in children:
- Uploading work to the platform
- Having real-time dialogue with two fictional characters to sustain their engagement and learning
- Completing 'missions' and collecting digital badges over six weeks

- Teachers commented positively on the levels of engagement from students.
- Students produced and uploaded work and often used creative responses such as film.
- One response from a consultant working for an education improvement service commented that teachers had commented on the notable improvement on the writing from 'reluctant boys' in their school by engaging with The Astro Science Challenge
- We have had requests from schools and some stakeholders to develop and sustain the project over a much greater period of time
Year(s) Of Engagement Activity 2015
URL https://www.makewav.es/unspaceagency