If you were asked to create a flag for your favourite planet of the solar system, which one would you choose and what design would you create?
This is the question we asked the children of the Highway Primary School in Kent. To help them achieve this goal, artist Helen Schell and scientist Helen Mason gave interactive talks and Q&A sessions informing the children about space exploration and our cosmos.
Helen Schell fired their creative imaginations with a solar system and space travel talk, and showed some examples of her art work to inform and inspire the children for their flag designs. Helen Mason gave a talk about the Sun and space, answering lots of challenging questions which the children had specially prepared in advance, helping with their understanding of space for the task ahead.
The children were given lots of exciting art materials, images and information, which they could use. Most children created their own individual flags, with Neptune being the favourite planet of the class. A small team were asked to design and make a large Sun flag. In an excited and energetic atmosphere, the children worked hard and produced amazing pieces of art, which they were very proud of.
An important part of the project was to learn about their chosen planet and so they used the back of their flags to write relevant facts which they later shared with other class members and teachers. This was achieved through a final show-and-tell, which provided an animated way for them to remember and pass on what they had learned during the day.
It was a positive experience for all involved and the children particularly enjoyed an activity which combined space science and art. As a ‘Thank-you’ gesture they produced some beautiful cards made with soapy water, bubbles, paint and a straw. The students were so enthusiastic. ‘Thank you for sharing one day of your life with us. We loved making the flags and learnt lots and lots’, ‘Thank you Helen and Helen for your wonderful help that you offered us at school. We appreciated that and will tell others at assembly’, ‘Thank you for teaching us about space and the Sun. My favourite part was making flags.’
The workshop session was organised by Olwen Hill, and the Year 5 class teacher Steve Lloyd, who commented –‘Thank you once again for coming in and working with the children – they had a great time. Their knowledge was greatly enhanced and they really enjoyed being able to ask anything of an expert. They did find it slightly challenging to sit for the extended periods and maintain their concentration and may have benefited from shorter sessions broken up with interactive tasks. The hands on, creative work produced some excellent work and some of the children exceeded their usual standard of work.’
We are delighted to have feedback, giving us the opportunity to improve the workshops. A lesson learnt by us – the children were very good and produced excellent work, but next time we will break the interactive talks up with hands-on activities.