Billesley In Space

Education   Primary Education  

Many topics reoccur in the school curriculum year after year. In some circumstances ideas we share in one year are then used by teachers in subsequent years without our help. On other occasions we’re asked to return. When that happens we try and think of new ways of doing the same thing. Space is a favourite topic and we have taken three different approaches in Billesley.

Space 2017

Moon Landings
Every year we have created a space or moon landings project with the school. This time we spent an intensive week with Year 2 preparing for a trip to the moon. Through various activities we looked at rocket size, lunar conditions, the earth from space and astronaut training. We wrote moon poetry, created lunar music and a stop frame ‘blast off animation’. The week culminated in the children in their mission teams each stepping on board a rocket, lifting off and then landing on the moon, where they took measurements and collected space rocks.

You can listen to some moon inspired poetry from Year Two HERE


Artists: Joanna Karselis, Johnny O’Hanlon and Craig Stephens.
Photographs: Ming De Nasty
Thanks to all the Year Two staff for their input and committment

Space 2013

We worked with Year Five to help them develop and consolidate their learning around their space topic. At the beginning of the project they were split into teams and each given a mission envelope which explained that each group would be visiting a different planet in our solar system and that they would be required to report back to earth with their experiences and findings.

Each team researched facts about their given planet and made cut outs and plasticine models which they used to create stop motion animations to illustrate their take offs, journies and landings. They also filmed interviews with the astronauts which described their explorations and the discoveries they had made visiting their planets. These were then turned into news reports as if being broadcast on television. The images below are frames from their completed films.


Led by: Jonny O’Hanlon and Iain Smith
Films made by: Reel Access

Space 2014

We spent a week with Year Five and turned the school into the Billesley Space Academy. On the first day the pupils were split into groups each with a mission to explore a different planet in the solar system. For the rest of the week they worked in their teams on a series of challenges in order to complete their rigorous astronaut training

They worked with Jonny to create a lifesize version of the Apollo moon landing capsule out of wood and wire and to create cardboard space grabbers. With James they worked on some pretty tough maths to gain an understanding of the distances involved in space travel. With their teachers they undertook research into their given planet, discovering information about its size, atmosphere, distance from earth etc. With Craig they took part in a number of testing astronaut training exercises to prepare them for life and work in space and they created journals based on their research and experiences.

After the children had left school on the Thursday we put together all the bits they had built to create the landing module and, with the help of huge sheets of fabric, some lights and a smoke machine, turned an empty classroom into the surface of the moon. On their return to school on Friday morning the children, now qualified astronauts, were able to explore this new world and discover how all their making work during the week had come together.

We recorded their space journals for broadcast on Radio Billeseley and the results can be heard here on the Billesley Blog


Led by: Jonny O’Hanlon, Craig Stephens, James Yarker and the Year 5 staff
Photos: Ming De Nasty

Space 2015

Space Communities
Year 2 took on the philosophical challenge “if you were building a society from scratch what would its values be”. They built model space communities and made advertisements for them.