‘Thank you so much for a wonderful morning with my Year 5s yesterday. Your visit was very inspirational and the children thoroughly enjoyed it.’ Teacher, Year 5, Bentfield School.

On 9th May 2017, we (Heather McRae and Dr Helen Mason) visited Bentfield School to run a SunSpaceArt workshop. The children had already participated in MissionX activities, so already knew quite a lot about space.

After a short presentation about the Sun, space and ESA/UK astronaut Tim Peake’s trip on the ISS, the children asked lots and lots of interesting questions, some of which we could not answer! For example: ‘Is the Earth’s core as hot as the Sun’s surface?’ Wow, okay, that one was challenging, so we suggested that they look up the answer themselves, which they did the next day. The teacher said ‘We researched the answer to our question this morning, finding out about the Earth’s core temperature. The consensus of opinion is that the Earth’s core is estimated at 6000°C so is actually a bit hotter than the Sun’s surface. We enjoyed researching it and discussed the variation in answers we found, depending on the sites we used – another good learning curve for them.’  There were many other great questions, like where the astronauts on the ISS get their oxygen from and how does the Sun get its energy.

After the science session we got out the art materials: large sheets (A3) of brightly-coloured paper, smaller sheets and bits of brightly-coloured and metallic-like paper, glue and pastels. We provided some images of the Sun, eclipses, solar flares, aurora and the ISS for inspiration. The children produced a variety of brightly-coloured, beautiful and imaginative collages to reinforce their learning experience. As they made their art-work, we went around to talk to them individually.  Some children asked Helen what it was like at Cambridge. Others wanted to work on space projects when they grew up. They are a lively class and were a joy to visit.