Pop Up Sun in Wales

Glasllwch Primary School – 8 November 2018, Yr 5
Bryn Bach Primary School – 19 February 2019, Yr 6
Fochriw Primary School – 21 February 2019, Yr 5/6
Clytha Primary School – 8 March 2019, Yr 6
Maesglas Primary School – 14 March 2019, Yr 6
Allensbank Primary School – 8 April 2019, Yr 5/6

Blog by Sarah Bridgland and Emma Wride

Thank you so much for a really fabulous day. The creative way in which the children displayed the scientific knowledge that they learned in the morning was fabulous.  Every child was engaged, all work is on display in our classroom and the children have shared their experience of working with you both in a special STEAM assembly this morning’. (Rhianna Taylor, year 6 teacher, Clytha Primary School)

For these new SunSpaceArt workshops in Wales, Emma had put together an exciting presentation for schools about the Sun and space. The children learnt about Sun Gods, the chemistry of our Sun, prominences, coronal mass ejections, magnetic fields, auroras and the seasons. Inspired by the success of other SunSpaceArt workshops, we decided to make a ‘Sun and Space pop-up booklet’. This was a lot of preparation but well worth the effort. In the booklets we asked the children to explore what the Sun means to them, what the Sun does for us and to describe their favourite facts from Emma’s presentation. Of course, this was just a starting point and many of the children relished the chance to be creative in the classroom. The books provided a space to explore their imagination and visually capture some interesting facts, crammed full of images of the Sun and space, pop-up prominences and auroras – and lots and lots of colourful stickers and holographic tape!

Two of the schools that we worked with (Bryn Bach PS and Fochriw PS) were schools that we had visited before, having run workshops exploring galaxies and making 3D paper universes. It was brilliant to work with some of the same children again (year 4 pupils who are now in year 6). They were still talking excitedly about our previous workshop and were happy to see us return.

Each workshop was a full day and after a lot of tidying up (paper everywhere!) each class had a ‘show and tell’, some children talked about their own work, while others said what they liked about their class mates work. The teachers seemed very keen on this oracy aspect of the workshops and filmed many of the pupils as part of their moderation.

Teachers have commented how inspiring it is for the pupils to have a ‘real’ scientist and artist who can answer questions, to show them new skills and inform them on the various careers available. It was endearing for us to be nominated “Inspirational Women” on International Woman’s Day by pupils of Clytha Primary. Teachers are also treating our workshops as CPD’s and really like the cross-curricular aspect of science and art. They are keen to share workshop ideas with other colleagues. A few of the children had behavioural problems, so it was re-assuring to hear that they had stayed engaged, enjoyed the work and even presented their artwork to the whole class. All the children were eager to take their work home to show their families. The teachers really appreciated how the workshop had enabled the children to convey what they had learnt through their artwork.

Teacher Tracy Lewis from Allensbank PS said: ‘The pupils were all well engaged throughout the whole session. They were all able to access the activity no matter what their science knowledge and art skills were. They all really liked and enjoyed the workshop. Linking science and art worked really well. All the pupils were very proud of their art work and their ability.

We have received some wonderful and positive feedback from the children too, with lots of smiley faces, many 10/10 and 5 stars, with ‘Come back again’ comments. The children had some lovely feedback:
‘I enjoyed today because it was fascinating learning about the Sun’. (child, Glasllwch PS)
‘I think space and art work really well together. I enjoyed learning the space facts and it was interesting. I loved making the books because I love to draw and be arty. It was so good I can’t think of anything you could change (child, Bryn Bach PS)
‘If only we could see the northern lights. #Bestdayever’
‘I loved the science and art together. I don’t really like science, but I loved it mixed with art.’ (children, Fochriw PS)
‘I learnt that if we have no Sun, the Earth’s atmosphere will go cold and FREEZE.’ (child, Clytha PS)
‘I really do think space and art mix well because I learnt more about space when I was using art.’
‘I like the workshop because I love art and learning about space so mixing it together was awesome.’ (children, Maeglas PS)