Brownies reach for the stars with new space badge

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Credit: Girlguiding

Girlguiding, the Royal Astronomical Society and the UK Space Agency have teamed up to give girls and young women in the UK unique and exciting opportunities to engage with astronomy beyond the classroom.

As part of the partnership, the Royal Astronomical Society, through its RAS 200: Sky & Earth programme, and the UK Space Agency are sponsoring and have provided expertise to help develop the new Space badge for Brownies.

The Space interest badge aims to spark girls' curiosity to explore the universe around them by providing opportunities to develop the skills and confidence to engage in astronomy, planetary and space science. Badge activities include stargazing with the challenge of identifying constellations on a clear night, creating a sunspot viewer and plotting a sunspot map, and designing an astronaut training programme.

The new badge which is available to 200,000 girls aged seven to ten, features among the 800 newly launched Girlguiding activities and badge challenges designed to equip over 400,000 girls and young women in guiding with the skills and experiences they will need to thrive, succeed, make change and be happy in the modern world.

The five-year partnership will also see girls and young women aged five to 25 be able to engage in the many fun space activities taking place at Girlguiding's national events throughout their time in guiding – from stargazing to getting up close to a real life space suit.

The partnership comes after Girlguiding's Girls' Attitudes Survey 20161 found:

  • Becoming a scientist was named as being a dream job amongst 7-10 year old girls
  • Becoming an astronaut was named as being a dream job amongst 11-16 year old girls
  • 15% of 7-10 year old girls believe STEM subjects have the image of being more for boys, compared to over half (52%) of 11-21 year old girls

Professor Mike Cruise, the President of the Royal Astronomical Society, said: "Astronomy and space science are some of the most exciting areas in which to work, but they still tend to be dominated by men. This partnership with Girlguiding will help to redress the balance by introducing girls to stars, planets and space travel from a young age. We want to inspire girls and young women to consider careers in these subjects, demonstrating that science is for everyone."

Alice Bunn, International Director at the UK Space Agency, said: "The UK space sector is booming and it's vital that we inspire the next generation of scientists and engineers to work in this fantastic industry.

"The UK Space Agency is delighted to be working with Girlguiding on this exciting new badge which will introduce young girls to the wonders of space."

Helen Sharman, the first British astronaut, said: "It's important that future generations continue to be inspired and have the opportunities to explore the fascinating Universe around us. Introduction to space, astronomy and planetary science will help to spark that initial curiosity, which could lead to potential careers in science and other exciting STEM subjects."

Jess Bond, Lead Volunteer for Girlguiding's Programme Renewal, said: "This is a hugely exciting time for Girlguiding – it's revolutionary. We've really listened to what girls have told us they'd like to see and incorporated their suggestions, creating new badges and activities and updating others so they're relevant now and in the future. It's also been fantastic to have the expertise and input from so many partners.

"Our ambition is to give girls the opportunity to discover and develop their interests, skills and confidence, take on new challenges and have fun and adventure with their friends. We want girls to feel equipped to take on the world."

Liddy Buswell, a member of Girlguiding's Advocate Panel, said: "This is such an exciting time to be part of Girlguiding. Where else would girls have the opportunity to be introduced to such a wide range of topics from tech and STEM, aviation and archaeology to voting or surviving in the wild? Girlguiding is all about providing a supportive space where girls are encouraged to give activities a go so they discover what it is they want to pursue and don't worry about failing or being judged. It could even lead them to their future career."

Girlguiding's new programme of activities is divided into interest badges, skills builders, group activities and awards, all developed around six themes: Skills for my Future, Have Adventures, Be Well, Know Myself, Express Myself and Take Action.

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The new programme is being phased in over the next twelve months and will be fully rolled out by September 2019. For more information on the new Space badge, programme of badges and activities visit https://bit.ly/2tZvQmu

Notes to editors:

For further information please contact

irlguiding Press Office: [email protected] / 020 7592 1733

1. Girlguiding commissioned ChildWise, the leading specialists in research with children and young people, to conduct the Girls' Attitudes Survey. A total of 1,627 girls and young women aged 7 to 21 took part from across the UK and from within and outside Girlguiding. The majority of questions were completed online. Additional face-to-face interviews were conducted with young women who were not in education, employment or training (NEET). Questions were adapted to be suitable for different age groups. Where data does not total 100%, the remainder said 'Don't know'.

The revamp and modernisation of Girlguiding's programme of activities and badges is the biggest ever overhaul in the charity's history and covers all that girls and young women do in Girlguiding from the ages of five to 18.

* Girlguiding is the leading charity for girls and young women in the UK, with over half a million members. Thanks to the dedication and support of 100,000 amazing volunteers, we are active in every part of the UK, giving girls and young women a space where they can be themselves, have fun, build brilliant friendships, gain valuable life skills and make a positive difference to their lives and their communities. We build girls' confidence and raise their aspirations. We give them the chance to discover their full potential and encourage them to be a powerful force for good. We give them a space to have fun. We run Rainbows (5-7 years (4-7 in Ulster)), Brownies (7-10 years), Guides (10-14 years) and Rangers (14-18 years). Registered Charity No 306016. http://www.girlguiding.org.uk

* The Royal Astronomical Society (RAS), founded in 1820, encourages and promotes the study of astronomy, solar-system science, geophysics and closely related branches of science. The RAS organizes scientific meetings, publishes international research and review journals, recognizes outstanding achievements by the award of medals and prizes, maintains an extensive library, supports education through grants and outreach activities and represents UK astronomy nationally and internationally. Its more than 4,000 members (Fellows), a third based overseas, include scientific researchers in universities, observatories and laboratories as well as historians of astronomy and others.

In 2020 the Royal Astronomical Society will be 200 years old. As part of the bicentenary celebrations, the Society established RAS 200: Sky & Earth, a £1 million public engagement programme. RAS 200 now supports 12 astronomy and geophysics public engagement projects working with diverse audiences in the UK, Ireland and South Africa. See https://ras200.org/ for more information.

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2. The UK Space Agency leads the UK's efforts to explore and benefit from space, with responsibility for all strategic decisions on the UK civil space programme. It ensures Government investments in space science and technology deliver significant value to the UK economy and people's lives. As set out in the Industrial Strategy, the UK Space Agency works with industry to develop new technologies, infrastructure and services, and to ensure the UK thrives in the commercial space age.

The UK Space Agency:

  • supports the work of the UK space sector at home and abroad, maximising its benefit to the UK's growing economy
  • Invests in science and exploration to increase our understanding of the universe and deliver practical benefits such as new technologies to life on Earth.
  • inspires the next generation of UK scientists and engineers.
  • Provides a safe and supportive regulatory environment for the launch and operation of UK spacecraft, launch operators and UK spaceports.
  • Promotes global co-operation in space, through the UK's membership of the European Space Agency and international partnerships.

The UK Space Agency is an executive agency, sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy.

Media Contact

Helen Klus
[email protected]
@royalastrosoc

http://www.ras.org.uk/ras

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