‘We adored your artistic spirit, 3D illusions and inspiring work that you had in your artwork.’ (Thames class, Yr4)

The children at the Cambridge University Primary School took us (Helen Schell, artist and ESERO-UK space ambassador, and Dr Helen Mason, solar scientist) way back in time to ancient Egypt. It was a journey that we very much enjoyed as we explored the pyramids, pharaohs, gods and goddesses, sacred animals, hieroglyphics and boats. So where is the link with the Sun? Well, Ra is an ancient Egyptian Sun God. He sailed across the heavens in his boat, “Barque”. Then at the end of the day Ra has been thought to die and then to sail on his night voyage through the Underworld.

The children had been on a visit to the Fitzwilliam Museum, in Cambridge to learn more about ancient Egypt. A colleague of Helen Mason’s, Dr Judith Bunbury, also visited the school, since she is an expert on ancient Egypt. The children asked us lots and lots of questions about the Sun, space, and also about other things. They wanted to know what the Ankh symbolized. We found out that it is ‘eternal life’.

Helen Schell showed the children some of her art work, including the ‘SUN-dress for the Yellow Giantess’, which is magnificent. We took lots of gold paper and foil with us for the art work. The children worked on individual pieces, which they annotated, and also worked on a large mural which Helen had outlined. Even their teacher (Lucy Bullen-Smith) enjoyed herself and had a go at some art work.

‘Dear Helen and Helen, thank you for visiting us, we really enjoyed the Sun-art workshop. We found the solar eclipse was fascinating, and thank you for helping us make the filter paper and letting us take home the special rainbow glasses. We really enjoyed the patterns that everyone made, and the way the colours merged. We loved learning about the Sun and how miniature the Earth is compared to the Sun. We thought it was interesting to learn about space. We liked the materials you gave us to do our collage pictures of Ra and the Sun. We thought there was a great result with the huge Ra’s Solar Barque.’ Thames Class, Yr 4.