The National Space Academy has been working with PPG, a global manufacturer of paints, coatings, and speciality materials, to inspire young people to pursue STEM and space-sector careers through a series of chemistry masterclasses.

To celebrate the programme, which started last year, the National Space Centre is hosting two local schools for four masterclasses on the 26th of October. Children from Sandfield Close Primary School and Soar Valley College will be conducting experiments and learning about the key role colour plays in space exploration in the National Space Academy teaching laboratory at the centre.

Aimed at school years six to nine, the PPG-sponsored National Space Academy masterclasses have been designed to give students a unique look at colour and material in the context of space. The new masterclasses have been delivered to over 1000 students at 16 schools across the UK so far.

PPG have provided funding to make bursaries of £300 available towards the cost of running these masterclasses in schools: they are run as one-day events with up to three sessions for different classes. This funding is still available but will run out in December, so any schools interested are advised to make a booking soon.

The masterclasses will feature a number of practical experiments to help students understand why certain colours are used most frequently in space projects, and be able to answer questions like: ‘Why are NASA’s rockets painted white?”. Through the link with PPG, pupils will get the opportunity to make their own paints and test them to see how different colours absorb heat radiation.

Paul Dowie, HR Director at PPG, said: “Engaging children in STEM subjects at an early age is essential to building a skilled workforce in years to come. But this isn’t just down to educators, businesses can also do their part in making students more aware of the opportunities available to those who pursue STEM-based learning.

“Teaming up with the National Space Academy to create these chemistry masterclasses means we can bring to life the scientific principles students study in school and textbooks through practical, exciting demonstrations within the context of something as stimulating as space travel.”

Andy McMurray, Head of Teaching and Learning at the National Space Academy, added: “It’s incredible how much of UK industry is involved in the space sector so we want to raise awareness of the diversity of these opportunities for all young people. Partnering with a leading brand like PPG provides great commercial context to the science we are teaching and shows pupils how chemistry works outside the classroom.”

To find out more or register your school’s interest in the new PPG sponsored National Space Academy masterclasses, visit: