Archive for the ‘Space’ Category

Space Topic

This post will cover a recent Space topic delivered to Y5. The topic included; the planets of our solar system, relative sizes and distances of the Sun, Earth and Moon as well as the orbits of the Earth and Moon. We will focus on key parts of the topic here.

The above picture shows the display for this topic and as you can see it includes visually stimulating pictures, questions, children’s work and books for them to look through. Children are encouraged to bring in items from home to add to it and can be rewarding using whatever system you have going; team points, class currency etc. Two of the books in the above picture belong to children and one child brought in a piece of meteorite although this wasn’t on display at the time this photo was taken.

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Hook them in

To hook the children into the topic, they were introduced to it as a ‘space explorers’ returning to earth after investigating the universe. The video used showed space starting from deep space and heading towards Earth. This really engaged the class at it used space’s ‘awe and wonder’ features nicely.

Kinaesthetic Approach

To increase pupil’s scientific thinking it is best to get them to see things for themselves. This undoubtedly raises some issues for space and until NASA launches school trips into space we need to improvise. A successful, interactive session for space was to use different sized objects to represent the Sun, Earth and Moon; I displayed a selection of spheres including a beach ball, football, tennis ball, small bead and blue tac as small as possible. Because not all schools have beach balls, a football could represent the Sun which means the Earth would have to be a small bead and the Moon would be the tiny piece of blue tac. The children had fun discussing these differences and then sending the volutneer ‘Sun’ out of the classroom door and 12m from our volunteer ‘Earth’ to show its relative distance.

Another interactive session was ‘plasticine planets’ where the children, after an input on orbits, were put into groups and demonstrated orbits using plasticine balls, string and pins. This was a challenging activity but they all managed it with regular learning stops, asking everyone to look at particularly successful groups. LAPs were asked to demonstrate the Earth’s orbit around the Sun, AAPs were asked to demonstrate this AND the Moon simultaneously orbiting Earth. The HAPs were challenged to explain how we get varied seasons and given Ipads with model solar systems on to research this.

Assessment quickie

The above work was my favourite piece of assessment showing the children’s understanding of relativity between the Sun, Earth and Moon. After the practical lesson on the relative sizes and distances, strips of paper were given out; A4 cut into thirds, long ways. The children were simply asked to show what the Sun, Earth and Moon looked like in space. As you can see from the pictures above, you get an idea of which children understand that the Sun in much larger than both the Earth and Moon and how close they are relative to each other.

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Thought Provoking Questions

It’s also important to set questions that make the children think and learn for themselves. The above question challenges pupils to investigate what the Sun does if it doesn’t ‘move across the sky’.

This post was an overview of the space topic taught to Y5. A more detailed description of each session will, in time, be added to our resources section so if this post interested you then keep your eyes peeled for the resources or if you can’t wait, request more information below.

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