Number one for English language teachers

Keith's Corner: Entry 6: Space and stars

Type: Article

In his sixth diary entry, Keith goes to infinity and beyond with his young learners as they tackle the topic of space.

A huge clear moon and a starlit sky have been the focus of stargazing children at Anglia School recently. Space is a topic which fascinates both younger and older children and there is a wealth of creative work that can be done for language development. We spent a week on this topic, but it could easily have been a whole month!

Stars storybook

We read several books on space, but a roaring hit was the lovely Eric Carle storybook “Draw me a star”. We looked at the easiest way to draw your own star (if you don’t mind a six-sided star, try two triangles, one upside down on top of the other) and the children designed and decorated their own stars, before making wishes.

Role play and shapes

We looked at constellations and constellation shapes by asking the children to lie on the carpet and make shapes with their arms and legs in the shape of a constellation, which they then drew and gave their own name to, so for example we had the “Eva constellation”.

Rocket making

We talked about space exploration and NASA space control, then the children made their own paper rockets, taking into consideration the rocket’s size, weight and shape. The children worked on rocket construction following their own designs and coloured them in. After this they gave names to their rockets, which we went out to the local park to launch. The rockets flew up to around 10 metres and there were many “oohs” and “aahs” as the rockets blasted into the air.

Rocket drama

We built a huge cardboard rocket for the children to perform a space exploration drama in, at the school. We also made recycled plastic bottle rocket booster packs, which were very popular. Everybody wanted to wear them!The children then play-acted a day trip to the planet Mars.

Crafts and the solar system

We love to paint at Anglia School and, for this topic, the children each crafted and painted a planet of their own. The whole colourful set was then hung from the classroom ceiling to represent the solar system.

Numbers and word work

We looked at the distances between the planets and the sun in our solar system and worked on writing the names of the planets, in order to label the planets the children had made.

Gravity game

We simulated zero gravity with a simple race game, in which the children had to match the names to the correct planets but they were not allowed to run, and instead had to walk as slowly as possible, as if under zero gravity.

Modelling and size

Our exploration of the planets continued with plasticine. The children made their own set of plasticine models of the planets in our solar system to consider the differences in the sizes of each of the planets.

At the end of the week, we gave our children “space diplomas” to celebrate their space investigations. They went to infinity and beyond and it’s a week they won’t forget any time soon!

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Readers' comments (2)

  • hello, thanks for your question!
    I bought a 'rocket factory' from Middlesex University many years ago. It was a great investment. It's basically a compression chamber which creates up to 5 bars of air pressure and can send the paper rockets a long way into the sky.
    Here is a link to a pdf with information about the rocket factory and more:

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  • how did you make the rockets, i.e how did you fuel them?

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