Admittedly part of the decision to turn my classroom ceiling into a mini solar system was personal interest. A number of years ago I sent my photo off to NASA for them to fly on the last space shuttle launch. Last summer I visited New Zealand’s National Observatory where I used a 130 year old telescope to take a look at Saturn. It is possible that I am just as excited for Year 2’s Planetarium trip in a couple of weeks’ time as they are!
Using the children’s wonder and curiosity, in class we have been researching different things about space. So far we have learnt how the sun is made up of gases, Saturn’s rings from ice and asteroids are lumps of rock. “I liked learning about the planets because they are different and far away” said Lauren. “Neil Armstrong was the first astronaut to set foot on the moon, I think he felt excited and brave to be the first person in the whole world to do this” said Alfie.
For those who share my enthusiasm, the International Space Station is due to be visible in the night sky on Saturday 5th March for two minutes, somewhere between 6am and 6:15am. Check online for up-to-date details: in-the-sky.org or spotthestation.nasa.gov. There is a popular Android app called ISS Detector Satellite Tracker or for IOS users there’s a less well known app called ISS Spotter, both appear to have positive reviews.
It is only fair to admit, the awestruck but very satisfied teacher feeling about the Dwarf Planet conversation soon got a reality check. Alongside my inflatable planets are astronauts, space shuttles, rockets and some green aliens. The collection came in a range of different sizes. Therefore it didn’t take very long for a child to ask “Mr. Powell, are astronauts really that big?” So, Major Tim Peake, if you are reading this please help, where should we put you on our school height chart?
#cosmicclassroom #principia @astro_timpeake