Astronaut Teaches Science from Space

March 18, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. cosmic / ˈkɒz mɪk / (adj.) – something related to the universe or outer space
ExampleCosmic rays are particles from space that can enter the Earth’s atmosphere.

2. astonishment / əˈstɒn ɪʃ mənt / (n.) – feeling of strong surprise and wonder
Example: She watched the meteor shower in astonishment.

3. sluggish / ˈslʌg ɪʃ / (adj.) – moving very slowly and lazily
Example: The students were late because of the sluggish movement of the school bus.

4. take advantage of / teɪk ædˈvæn tɪdʒ ʌv / (idiom) – to use something for its benefits
Example: Students should take advantage of their field trips to discover new things.

5. isolation /ˌaɪ səˈleɪ ʃən / (n.) – the state of being completely separate from others
Example: Astronauts experience long periods of isolation.


Read the text below.
British Astronaut Tim Peake conducted a science class from outer space, proving that education really has no boundaries.

On February 2, around 300 fortunate students from all over England experienced the “Cosmic Classroom” live at the World Museum Liverpool. They were able to communicate with Peake, who was on board the International Space Station, through a video call. Aside from the live audience, thousands of students across England were watching a broadcast of the cosmic classroom in their own schools.

Peake answered several questions during the 20-minute video call. One boy asked him what he can see outside the window. He also demonstrated several science concepts, with the spotlight on weightlessness or zero gravity. The students watched in astonishment as Peake played ping-pong with a huge droplet of water floating in midair.

Peake also said that aside from causing things to float, weightlessness also causes the heart to beat very slowly, since it does not have to fight gravity. This sluggish activity of the heart may cause it to shrink. In order to prevent this, people in space need to exercise daily.

The Cosmic Classroom is just one of the projects of the Principia Mission, which aims to increase scientific knowledge by taking advantage of conditions found only in space. Aside from Peake, the mission also includes astronauts Yuri Malenchenko and Timothy Kopra. Peake’s team conducts experiments in conditions like weightlessness, extreme radiation, and isolation.

The team hopes to discover innovations in technology, the human body, and space exploration. The team took off on December 25, 2015 from Kazakhstan, and is bound to return home after 6 months.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         If you could ask people working in outer space anything, what would you ask them?
·         If you were given the chance to travel to outer space, what things would you want to do there?

Discussion B

·         What do you think is the importance of teaching children about outer space?
·         If you could choose a subject that every student in your country should study, what would it be and why?

March 18, 2016