Skip to main content
Friday 15 January 2021

Space help on hand during lockdown

Free astronomy resource for primary school pupils is available now

If you’re stuck for ideas to keep children entertained during the current lockdown then look no further than a free resource aimed at helping youngsters learn about the wonders of space.

Fun, free resources combining astronomy and dance have been created for Year 5 and 6 aged pupils by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan), in partnership with dancer Lucy Starkey.

Aimed at assisting teachers and parents, the six-week scheme of work features interactive educational videos, which were filmed at the University’s Alston Observatory, and classroom investigations, although they can also be completed using household items.

The programme challenges traditional science-learning and uses dance to engage the youngsters with the curiosity and excitement of scientific ideas.

UCLan astronomer Dr Joanne Pledger, UCLanDance Co-course leader Ruth Spencer and Artist in Residence Lucy Starkey have collaborated to bring the learning of science and dance together in the ‘Into Our Skies: Space in Schools’ scheme.

Dr Pledger said: “The three interactive videos and learning resources we’ve created are closely aligned with national curriculum guidelines meaning teachers and parents can provide practical opportunities for pupils engage in concepts such as The Solar System, orbits and the rotation of the Earth.

"The interactive dance videos can also help give parents some time to focus on their own work commitments while overseeing their child’s engagement with learning rather than have to teach it"

UCLan astronomer Dr Joanne Pledger

“As well as being a great help for teachers at a time when they’re being stretched by the impact of this current lockdown, the interactive dance videos can also help give parents some time to focus on their own work commitments while overseeing their child’s engagement with learning rather than have to teach it.”

The additional resources include top tips on how to facilitate a dance class and supplementary information on ‘the science bit’.

The resources have been backed by Sarah Connon, Science Learning Partnership Lead for Lancashire and Cumbria.

The Ashton Community Science College Assistant Headteacher said: “The recently released Into Our Skies: Space in Schools project composes of an amazing set of Key Stage 2 resources for teachers to engage and motivate students by delivering Earth and Space through dance.

“Not only will they work in the classroom, but also as a remote package for students self-isolating or as an extracurricular activity to ensure pupils are keeping their minds healthy with some exercise.”

Funding for the project came from a £15,000 grant from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC) Public Engagement Fund. The project is inspired by the solo show ‘Into Our Skies’ created by Lucy and has been supported by UCLanDance.

The free scheme of work can be accessed by registering online following which teachers and parents will be sent a link to download the resources.