PSHE KS2 / KS3: A career as a space scientist

Space scientist Maggie Aderin-Pocock explains why being different is no barrier to success if you are passionate about something.

As a dyslexic child, Maggie found reading and writing in school difficult.

Nonetheless, it was a book that changed her life. On its cover was an astronaut.

As soon as Maggie saw that picture of a man floating without gravity in his amazing suit, she craved more information about space.

Driven by a desire to understand how the universe worked, she studied science and went on to make new discoveries about space on her own.

Maggie describes how she worked hard to overcome stereotypes by staying true to her goal. Despite not fitting the common image of a ‘serious, white male scientist’, she made it.

Her message to others is simple: "Believe in yourself, and you can achieve so much.”

Teacher Notes

This clip could be used as a discussion starter.

What are the ethical implications of sending people into space?

Can we justify the hundreds of millions often spent on satellites?

Use Maggie's answers in the clip as prompts for a debate on science funding to fit in with SMSC part of the syllabus.

The lesson could be expanded to include the Large Hadron Collider.

It can also be used in Science Week for prompts on careers in science and women in science.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching Modern Studies and Physics at KS2 and KS3 in England and Wales, and 2nd level in Scotland.