This week in Blue Class, the children became planet builders. They were given a fruit to act as their basic planet, and worked in groups to embellish it with buttons, dowel, pins and a range of craft materials.
Once the planets were finished, the groups became exploratory teams, trying to learn more about the other teams' planets. They constructed viewing scopes from rolled up card, through which they had to study their chosen planet. They first had a brief, distant view (to simulate earth-bound observations). They used their discoveries from this initial observation to plan the next stage: a fly-by. This simulated a planetary probe gathering information about a planet as it passed by. The third stage was to orbit the planet. This allowed the groups to see the planets much closer and to get a 360 degree view.
Combining all their observations, the children then chose a landing site for closer inspection. They could examine this point in great detail, but could not see further afield.
The explorations were modelled on the real processes involved in studying the other planets in our solar system.