P6/7 recently went on a ‘Space Walk’ as part of our topic about Space. However no-one was in a spacesuit, or on the end of a cable attached to the International Space Station, as our walk was a bit closer to home. The purpose was to try to understand the vast distances between the planets in our own Solar System.
We started by learning about scale, and that we would be working on a scale where Earth was represented by a peppercorn, the Sun was a basketball, and one large step represented 3.6 million miles. The pupils had to guess how far Earth would be from the Sun on this scale, and were amazed to find our ‘model’ wouldn’t fit into our classroom. Instead Earth was 27 paces from the Sun, so we had to continue our model in the playground. The basketball Sun was positioned over at the edge of the trees, and the small rocky planets (pin-heads and peppercorns) were spread out across the pitch. The pupils took it in turns to pace out the distances, which was fun (and surprisingly difficult!) and as we got further from the sun, the distances between our planets got bigger and bigger. Jupiter (a Malteser) was just outside the school grounds, and by the time we got to Neptune (the tip of a cashew nut), we were up beyond Causer crossroads!
The children were really amazed by the huge distances involved and it truly opened their eyes to the mind-boggling scale of the universe.