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To South Wairarapa and beyond

Space Trail project lead Charlotte Harding uses the new space game-based app with son Finn Harding. PHOTO/JOHN LAZO-RON

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A Wairarapa astronomy tour company has added another wing to its stargazing experience with an aim to teach primary school pupils about space.

Under the Stars, which has been showcasing the night skies to the region for two years, launched its Space Trail programme in Martinborough last week.

Project lead Charlotte Harding said Space Trail was an app-based game that would direct children through 18 locations in Martinborough, Featherston [to January 24], and Greytown [January 25-31], performing activities and challenges all related to space.

Once the game was downloaded, children would enter a team name, and the trail would begin with the app acting like a compass guiding them to each new activity.

Some of the questions they would need to answer included, “what does the word ‘planet’ mean?”, and “how long does the sun’s light take to get to the earth?”.

Harding said she and Under the Stars director Becky Bateman came up with the Space Trail idea after seeing a lack of family activities in the region while always having planned to add an educational division to the business.

“One of [Becky’s] passions for the long-term project of Under the Stars was to have an educational arm as well as doing something fun for kids,” Harding said.

“Things that kids might not be learning generally at the moment, opening up their world to space, science, and astronomy.

“So, this was an idea we thought we would explore because we’d like to offer something in school holidays that is fun, educational, low cost, and also gets the family doing something together.”

Harding said there was a four-hour window to complete Space Trail but mentioned it was not a race and that the length of time was merely to allow children to take regular food breaks. Although there would be spot prizes related to some of the challenges on the app.

Harding hoped the game would open children’s minds towards the galaxy.

“It’s going to open up curiosity. You don’t need any knowledge because you’re going to be finding out, and that’s what we want.”

Harding hoped to get close to 60 families involved in Space Trail and planned to continue the experience throughout every school holiday in 2021.

Depending on how it goes, Harding said they would look to expand the concept further into Wairarapa in Carterton and Masterton.

  • Tickets for Space Trail are available on EventFinda.

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