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Teaching Primary Science: Human Spaceflight

Learn how to use the topic of human spaceflight to excite and engage your pupils across the primary science curriculum.

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Teaching Primary Science: Human Spaceflight
The CPD Certification Service

This course has been certified by the CPD Certification Service as conforming to continuing professional development principles. Find out more.

Take your pupils into orbit by using space for primary science learning

From knowing the properties and uses of the materials required for an astronaut’s spacesuit to having an understanding of diet and exercise in order to keep an astronaut healthy–human spaceflight is a rich context for learning.

On this course, you will learn how keeping humans alive in space and how our view of the Earth from space can be linked to the primary curriculum.

You will discover a variety of topics in the primary science curriculum where you can use the theme of space to engage pupils, including in STEM subjects and cross-curricular links to numeracy and literacy.

During the course you’ll build a curriculum plan, using the activities and resources provided to consider where space could be used as a context for learning. Completion of this course can be used as evidence for the Space Education Quality Mark in the UK.


  • Week 1

    The human body in space

    • Life on the International Space Station

      By the end of this activity, you will have learnt about what it's like for astronauts on the ISS and discover some of the activities that they perform.

    • Gravity and orbits

      In this activity, we'll explore ideas and misconceptions around the effects of gravity in space.

    • The effects of space on the human body

      In this activity, you will learn about how astronauts train for space and the effects of space on their bodies.

    • Training to prepare for life in space

      This activity will give you some examples of the training that astronauts must complete to train for life in space.

    • Food and nutrition in space

      In this activity, you will learn about the types of food astronauts eat in space, and the importance of them maintaining a healthy diet.

  • Week 2

    Materials in space

    • Space suits

      This week we will be focusing on materials through the context of space. Why are materials and their properties so important for humans in space?

    • Protection against UV light

      In this activity, you will learn about the electromagnetic spectrum of light and investigate how we can protect astronauts from harmful ultraviolet light.

  • Week 3

    Looking back at the Earth

    • The Earth from space

      In this activity, we'll be looking focusing on images taken of the Earth from space and how we can use them in the classroom.

    • How do we use Earth observation data?

      In this activity, we will look at the many ways that the data from Earth observation satellites can be used across the globe

    • Reviewing your professional development

      Review your professional development and plan your next steps to sustain and develop the way you plan for learning.

Who is this accredited by?

The CPD Certification Service
The CPD Certification Service:

The CPD Certification Service was established in 1996 and is the leading independent CPD accreditation institution operating across industry sectors to complement the CPD policies of professional and academic bodies.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and learn at your own pace. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

Learning on this course

You can take this self-guided course and learn at your own pace. On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Identify opportunities across the curriculum to use space as a context for learning.
  • Engage children in practical activities using the context of human spaceflight.
  • Design lessons that show science in an applied context.
  • Identify careers that link in to the space industry.
  • Contribute to shared resources that use space as a context.

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for primary school teachers of pupils aged 7-11 years old.

Who will you learn with?

ESERO-UK Teacher Fellow, working for STEM Learning, York. Using the context of space to inspire STEM teaching and learning. Teacher of physics, satellite engineer, father of two.

I spent 10 years working as a primary classroom teacher, 7 as a science subject leader. I’ve also supported schools as a leading science teacher before joining STEM learning as a primary specialist.

Who developed the course?

National STEM Learning Centre

The National STEM Learning Centre provides world-class professional development activities and resources to support the teaching of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects.


ESERO-UK, also known as the UK space education office, provides free resources, support and information for teachers to enhance the teaching and learning of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) using space as a context.

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps, but you can complete them as quickly or slowly as you like
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

Want to know more about learning on FutureLearn? Using FutureLearn

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What's included?

This is a premium course. These courses are designed for professionals from specific industries looking to learn with a smaller group of like-minded individuals.

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime

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