Bring the buzz and excitement of Tim Peake’s Mission into your classroom

I’m an Astronaut is a free activity where school students get to meet and interact with the team behind a human space mission online.

Your students challenge the Astro Support Team over fast-paced online text-based live CHATsASK the team members anything they want, and VOTE for their favourite. The Astro team member with the most votes after the four rounds will get £500 to communicate their work with the public.

Four schools will win the chance to take part in a final live chat with Tim Peake.

How does it work?

Choose to participate in one of the four rounds, each lasting two weeks. Use the provided Teacher Packs to brief your students, get them online and reading the team’s profiles. Book a live chat and get your students chatting directly with the people getting Tim into space. They can also pose questions outside of the chat and vote for the team member they want to win.

In each round of the competition a different mix of five participants answers the questions. Students interact with the Astro Support Team in two ways; through posted questions, and through text-based live chats. Students also vote for their favourite member of the Astro Support Team to win the round and go on to join the final live chat with Tim Peake. The member of the Astro Support Team with the highest proportion of votes from the four rounds will get £500 to communicate their work with the public.

You book a live chat slot for your class, at a time to suit your lesson. Live chats work in a similar way to instant messaging and run for 30 minutes. No special software is required, all you need is access to the I’m an Astronaut website.

At the end of each round, we will have a winning participant, and a winning school; both will go on to take part in the final live chat with Tim Peake.

The winning school will nominate four student ambassadors to log in for the final chat.

When can schools take part?

Applications for the I’m an Astronaut competition have now closed

The rounds of the competition are scheduled around key events in the Principia Mission.

Round 1 – Training Zone

5th–16th October 2015

Round 2 – Launch Zone

7th–18th December 2015

Tim Peake’s Principia Mission launch is currently planned for 15th December

Round 3 – Orbit Zone

British Science Week — 7th–18th March 2016

Round 4 – Touchdown Zone

Principia Mission End — 13th–24th June 2016

Final Live Chat

During Tim Peake’s debrief (Date TBC)

Who’s it for?

The activity is pupil-led (the students ask the questions they want to) so different age groups, ability levels, and backgrounds all get something out of it.

  • Year 5 to Year 13
  • Sixth form colleges, special schools, pupil referral units and other non-mainstream educational settings
  • Free for UK schools

How much time will it take?

We provide all the resources and materials needed; including suggested lesson plans and modifications to suit different students’ abilities.

We recommend spending at least 2 hours on the activity. This will usually be 1 introductory lesson, 1 homework of reading more about the scientists and submitting questions and 1 lesson of live chat with the scientists.

Why take part?

  • Students see the wide range of people working on the Principia Mission — it’s not just Tim Peake.
  • Students see that scientists, researchers, engineers, technicians and the people working on spaceflight missions are normal people.
  • Students are introduced to the wide range of careers within the space industry – not just being an astronaut.
  • Being online gives all students a voice: “The set-up allows everyone to have their chance to ask questions, whether they are the loudest person in the class, or the quiet curious student.”
  • The students guide the event – they ask the questions and vote for the winning Astro Team Members.
  • The activity creates a ‘buzz’ in the classroom.

Do I need any special software or equipment?

All you need are computers with internet access for your students. The live chats are text-based (no video or audio needed) and run through this site.

How secure is it?

No personal details are shared, and we moderate all content on the site. The only students who can log in are those who’ve been given access by their teacher.

How do I register my interest?

Applications for the I’m an Astronaut competition have now closed