Epic Tales Online

Epic Learning: space, sex and relationships, counting in steps, and more!

October 02, 2020 Epic Learning Podcast Season 2 Episode 9
Epic Tales Online
Epic Learning: space, sex and relationships, counting in steps, and more!
Chapters
00:06:34
All-age Literacy, Geography, and PSHCE: persistence; comparing cultures; comparing characters; the Sun and the Moon in literature and folklore
00:08:17
All-age PSHCE: being happy with who you are; positive body image; equality
00:10:58
All-age PSHCE: making others happy; how to say "No"; speaking and reacting well; friendships between genders; other types of relationships; sex and relationships; choice and consent in relationships; healthy relationships
00:16:29
4–7yrs Science: Sun and Moon; light and dark; shadows
00:17:34
4–7yrs Science: the Solar System; phases of the Moon; skills of a scientist; observing
00:21:16
4–7yrs Numeracy, Science and DT: shape of a sphere; measuring a circumference; problem-solving; change in materials; paper mache (papier-mâché); using natural materials; designing and making; joining
00:23:33
4–7yrs Literacy and Geography: describing landscapes; poetry; understanding the world; rhyming words
00:25:49
4–7yrs History: Moon landings; significant individuals; discovery of the Americas
00:26:22
4–7yrs Science and Art: night sky images; texture; surface of the Moon; different art materials; painting; printing
00:27:14
4–7yrs Literacy, Numeracy, DT and Art: wedding and party planning; invitations; food planning, making and cooking; dressing up
00:27:52
4–7yrs Literacy and Art: Jonathan Emmett's "Bringing Down the Moon"
00:29:34
7–9yrs Science: rocks and soils; diamonds; Charlotte Guillain's "The Street Beneath My Feet"
00:30:44
7–9yrs Science: skills of a scientist; observing; classifying
00:31:16
7–9yrs Numeracy: prediction; counting backwards and forwards; fractions; counting in steps; preparing for multiplication tests; division as the inverse of multiplication; working out unknown facts from known facts
00:33:47
All-age Literacy: Oliver Jeffers' "Here We Are: Notes for Living On Planet Earth" and "The Way Back Home"; Ross Montgomery's "The Space Tortoise"; Lemony Snicket's "The Dark"; Emily Haworth-Booth's "The King Who Banned the Dark"
00:34:45
7–9yrs Literacy: writing a character description; changing perspectives
00:35:41
7–9yrs Literacy and Geography: adding verses to poems; locating major countries on a map; plotting on a map; co-ordinates
00:37:17
All-age Geography: naming the continents
00:37:35
All-age Geography and Art: Vincent van Gogh's "The Starry Night"; imitating the style of an artist; landmarks
00:38:11
7–9yrs RE and PSHCE: weddings in different faiths
00:39:34
9–11yrs Science: Earth and space; distances of the Solar System; the Moon on Google Earth; geography of the Moon; camera obscuras (pinhole cameras); light sources
00:40:34
9–11yrs Science: renewal energy sources; solar power; tidal power
00:40:45
9–11yrs Numeracy, Science and DT: designing and making a galactic Top Trumps game; clothes production; budgeting; group project work
00:41:50
9–11yrs Literacy and History: changing characters within a story; riddles; kennings; Ancient Greece; Greek/Roman mythology; Ancient Rome; Chris Van Allsburg's "The Mysteries of Harris Burdick"; image story openers; personification; characterisation
00:43:30
9–11yrs Music: Public Service Broadcasting's "The Race for Space"
00:44:58
All-age Science: looking at the Sun; technological progress
00:46:50
All-age Science and PSHCE: women in science; female astronauts; female empowerment
00:47:54
All-age PSHCE: emotional literacy; moral truths in stories; discerning between fact and fiction
00:49:30
All-age Literacy, Science, Geography, DT, Music and Art: group projects; research; physical features of Earth; problem-solving; presenting findings; dance; Holst's "The Planets" suite; responding artistically to music; interpreting senses
00:52:24
All-age Literacy and Art: characterisation; personification; "Mr Moon", 1901; clay-modelling; clay carving
Epic Tales Online
Epic Learning: space, sex and relationships, counting in steps, and more!
Oct 02, 2020 Season 2 Episode 9
Epic Learning Podcast

Join Epic storytellers and creative teachers as they discuss how to draw out learning outcomes from this week's Epic Tale with fun and engaging activities.

To mark World Space Week we share a Mexican love story between the Sun and Moon – though it doesn't quite go how the Sun expects... Discover how his romantic efforts can help your children conquer rhyme, multiplication, and more!

This week, Epic storyteller Chip is joined by Helen, an EYFS–KS1 teacher from Buckinghamshire; Bex, a Deputy Head from Cambridgeshire; and Rob, a KS2 teacher also from Buckinghamshire.

*EPIC NOTICE*
We're proud to have produced these podcasts completely free for the benefit of schools and homelearning families since the start of the first UK lockdown. However, like many businesses, Epic is now struggling to survive this pandemic.

Can you help by sending us just £20? We only need to raise £200 to continue these podcasts in the New Year. If you find them of value, please consider donating via
pod.fan/epictales

If you can't help financially, we'll still be enormously grateful if you could support us with a review on your favourite podcast app – or on your favourite social media site, tagging us in with @EpicTalesST

Thank you!


TIMECODES
Intros | 0:00

"Through the Forest" Excerpt | 1:46

Learning Outcomes
For a more detailed breakdown, visit buzzsprout.com/967114/5693173

  • Literacy, Geography, PSHCE: persistence; comparing cultures; comparing characters; the Sun and the Moon in literature & folklore (6:34) | positive body image; equality (8:17) | sex and relationships; choice and consent; healthy relationships (10:58)
  • Science: Sun & Moon; light & dark; shadows (16:29) | the Solar System; phases of the Moon; skills of a scientist (17:34) | rocks & soils; diamonds; Charlotte Guillain's "The Street Beneath My Feet" (29:34) | classifying (30:44)
  • Numeracy, Science, DT: spheres; measuring circumferences; problem-solving; change in materials; paper mache; natural materials; designing & making; joining (21:16) | galactic Top Trumps game; clothes production; budgeting (40:45)
  • Literacy, Geography: landscapes; poetry; rhyme (23:33) | locating major countries on a map; co-ordinates (35:41)
  • History: Moon landings; significant individuals; discovery of the Americas (25:49)
  • Science, Art: night sky images; texture; painting; printing (26:22)
  • Literacy, Numeracy, DT, Art: wedding/party planning; cooking; dressing up (27:14) | Jonathan Emmett's "Bringing Down the Moon" (27:52)
  • Numeracy: prediction; counting backwards & forwards; fractions; counting in steps; multiplication; division; working out unknown facts from known facts (31:16)
  • Geography, Art: naming the continents (37:17) | Vincent van Gogh's "The Starry Night"; imitating the style of an artist (37:35)
  • RE, PSHCE: weddings; different faiths (38:11)
  • Science, PSHCE: women in science (46:50)
  • Literacy, Science, Geography, DT, Music, Art: research; physical features of Earth; presenting findings; dance; Holst's "The Planets" suite (49:30) | clay-modelling; clay carving (52:24)

We'd love to hear how you get on with these ideas! Please leave us a review with your favourite podcast app, find us on social media @EpicTalesST, or email [email protected]

Have a learning outcome you'd like us to cover in a future episode? Email [email protected]

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Join Epic storytellers and creative teachers as they discuss how to draw out learning outcomes from this week's Epic Tale with fun and engaging activities.

To mark World Space Week we share a Mexican love story between the Sun and Moon – though it doesn't quite go how the Sun expects... Discover how his romantic efforts can help your children conquer rhyme, multiplication, and more!

This week, Epic storyteller Chip is joined by Helen, an EYFS–KS1 teacher from Buckinghamshire; Bex, a Deputy Head from Cambridgeshire; and Rob, a KS2 teacher also from Buckinghamshire.

*EPIC NOTICE*
We're proud to have produced these podcasts completely free for the benefit of schools and homelearning families since the start of the first UK lockdown. However, like many businesses, Epic is now struggling to survive this pandemic.

Can you help by sending us just £20? We only need to raise £200 to continue these podcasts in the New Year. If you find them of value, please consider donating via
pod.fan/epictales

If you can't help financially, we'll still be enormously grateful if you could support us with a review on your favourite podcast app – or on your favourite social media site, tagging us in with @EpicTalesST

Thank you!


TIMECODES
Intros | 0:00

"Through the Forest" Excerpt | 1:46

Learning Outcomes
For a more detailed breakdown, visit buzzsprout.com/967114/5693173

  • Literacy, Geography, PSHCE: persistence; comparing cultures; comparing characters; the Sun and the Moon in literature & folklore (6:34) | positive body image; equality (8:17) | sex and relationships; choice and consent; healthy relationships (10:58)
  • Science: Sun & Moon; light & dark; shadows (16:29) | the Solar System; phases of the Moon; skills of a scientist (17:34) | rocks & soils; diamonds; Charlotte Guillain's "The Street Beneath My Feet" (29:34) | classifying (30:44)
  • Numeracy, Science, DT: spheres; measuring circumferences; problem-solving; change in materials; paper mache; natural materials; designing & making; joining (21:16) | galactic Top Trumps game; clothes production; budgeting (40:45)
  • Literacy, Geography: landscapes; poetry; rhyme (23:33) | locating major countries on a map; co-ordinates (35:41)
  • History: Moon landings; significant individuals; discovery of the Americas (25:49)
  • Science, Art: night sky images; texture; painting; printing (26:22)
  • Literacy, Numeracy, DT, Art: wedding/party planning; cooking; dressing up (27:14) | Jonathan Emmett's "Bringing Down the Moon" (27:52)
  • Numeracy: prediction; counting backwards & forwards; fractions; counting in steps; multiplication; division; working out unknown facts from known facts (31:16)
  • Geography, Art: naming the continents (37:17) | Vincent van Gogh's "The Starry Night"; imitating the style of an artist (37:35)
  • RE, PSHCE: weddings; different faiths (38:11)
  • Science, PSHCE: women in science (46:50)
  • Literacy, Science, Geography, DT, Music, Art: research; physical features of Earth; presenting findings; dance; Holst's "The Planets" suite (49:30) | clay-modelling; clay carving (52:24)

We'd love to hear how you get on with these ideas! Please leave us a review with your favourite podcast app, find us on social media @EpicTalesST, or email [email protected]

Have a learning outcome you'd like us to cover in a future episode? Email [email protected]

The Epic Learning Podcast is free to use, and ad-free too and we're dearly grateful if you can help us keep it this way. If you have change to spare, please visit pod.fan/epictales or you can also donate a review using your favourite podcast app to help us spread the word about this podcast. Thank you!

Chip:

The warmest of greetings to you and welcome to... The Epic Learning Podcast Every week our Epic Storytellers share a different story from around the world at epictales.co.uk, and in this podcast we pick out the learning outcomes in those stories for you to explore with the children in your care. To do this we have a panel passionately keen for your children to become amazing and successful human beings. I am storyteller Chip Colquhoun, and with me this week is...

Helen:

Hi, I'm Helen. I'm from Buckinghamshire, and I teach Reception and Year 1 children at the moment.

Bex:

Hello! My name's Bex, and I'm a primary school teacher from Cambridgeshire. I've taught in every age group from Early Years up to Year 3, and I'm currently the deputy head as well.

Rob:

Hi, I'm Rob. I am a primary school teacher from Milton Keynes, and I've worked with lots of Key Stage 2 and a bit of Key Stage 1 as well.

Chip:

and we're all very pleased to have you, our listeners, with us! If you'd like to jump ahead to a specific learning outcome, check the description for this podcast or use the chapter headings on Buzzsprout. But if you're here for the ALL the fun and joy of Story-Led Learning, then let's don our finest cloaks, sprinkle some fairy dust, and hang tight to our magic carpet as we dive into this week's story... This week we take to the skies to mark National Poetry Day AND World Space Week in one, with a Mexican romance between the Sun and Moon. When the Sun asks for her hand in marriage, the Moon doesn't want to admit that she doesn't see him as husband material but how can she turn him down without ruining their years of friendship?

David Ault:

Suddenly, the thought POPPED! into her head and she said… “My friend, I will marry you on one condition. All I ask is that you bring me something to wear that will fit me perfectly.” The Sun beamed brightly that was exactly what he wanted to hear! Well, maybe not exactly he hadn’t been expecting the “bring me something to wear that will fit me perfectly” part but he was certain the Moon’s condition wouldn’t be any trouble. Soon he would marry the woman of his dreams! So the Sun carefully took the Moon’s measurements; she was exactly a size 8. Then he set off to find something to wear that would fit her perfectly. The Sun knew that women liked to wear dresses, so he flew to his favourite planet Earth and began looking for something he could use to make a dress that was exactly size 8. With his magic, the Sun could make a dress out of absolutely anything. On the Earth, he saw some beautiful trees in the jungle a luscious green. He thought they were just what he needed! He flew over the trees, waved his hands, and said… Change all these trees, not a moment too late, Into a dress that’s exactly size 8! And, in a flash, the trees changed into a dress that was exactly size 8. Excitedly, the Sun took the dress to the Moon to try on. But when she did, the dress looked really baggy; the Moon kept having to grab it to stop it slipping off her shoulders. The Sun was confused. He measured the dress, and it was exactly size 8. Then he measured the Moon again… …and she was exactly size 6. The Sun felt a bit silly. He must have forgotten the right size or maybe he’d got confused because the number 8 looks a bit like the number 6? Whatever the reason, the Sun knew he had to try again to find something to wear that would fit the Moon perfectly. He really wanted to marry her, so he wasn’t going to give up.

Chip:

And if you and your young learners want to see if the Sun fares better on his next attempt, Epic Storyteller Janina will be telling it live at epictales.co.uk on 5th October. Screen it to your children using your classroom projector live at 9:30am British time from epictales.co.uk, or search the website for "Fit for the Moon" to catch up anytime after. You can also visit the website to download a written version of the story to tell yourself, or an audio version read by the astronomical talent that is David Ault. And we'll continue the cosmic theme at 2pm on Monday 10th October, also British time, when the interstellar Amber Lickerish will share a Chinese romance with similarly celestial characters. Let your advancing readers watch Amber's tale on your classroom projector to build their vocabulary and love of story again, live on epictales.co.uk, or catch up anytime after by searching our website for "The Princess and the Cowherd". Right now, though, let's kick off our discussion with Helen, Bex, and Rob here by asking, Folks! With trees and sand and diamonds too Was this story a good fit for you?

Bex:

So I really enjoyed this story; really enjoyed thinking about the Sun and the Moon and the potential of them getting married, and why the Moon and the Sun are where they are in the sky. Yeah, really, really interesting. So many learning opportunities particularly for maths and science, which we don't often say! And so really, really excited to be able to discuss this story today.

Helen:

I really liked the different characters of the Moon and the Sun. I really liked the Sun's persistence in this one. I've never come across a story about the Moon and the Sun before, quite like this.

Rob:

I liked the fact that it's based on a Mexican folk tale, but the Sun and the Moon crop up in all kinds of different cultures and they have different characteristics and we can then relate this story to other stories as well.

Chip:

Yeah. It's interesting you say that 'cause, although they do crop up all over the world and they do have different characteristics, almost invariably the Moon is female and the Sun is male which is really interesting, especially since this folk tale would have developed well before any European exploration over to the Americas. I have to confess something here: we have expanded on the original Mexican folk tale because, in the original Mexican folk tale, the Sun and the Moon don't get married. The Sun just keeps on trying with all of these different clothes and the Moon just keeps changing her shape and eventually the Sun gives up. One of the reasons we changed it was because we thought the idea of a wedding veil would just be an absolute perfect fit pardon the pun but of course it also gives you that explanation for why the tides follow the Moon. So little bit of added creativity on our part... Were you happy with that? Do you think we should have stuck with the tradition...?

Helen:

No I liked that element of the veil being made from the tides I thought that was really clever; I liked that ending.

Rob:

I'm sure the Aztecs wont mind too much, I don't think.

Chip:

So obviously there's persistence as a key moral. Did you pick out anything else?

Rob:

Thinking about Upper Key Stage 2, and the fact that the Moon keeps on going down in size size of clothes I thought, the young people we work with today are more and more exposed to celebrities and body image and things like that. So I thought it'd be a good way to explore that, but in a positive way because there's an awful lot of, "I've got to look a certain way, and I've got to do certain things to look that way..." But it's important to make people realise that you just gotta be happy with who you are and what you are whether you're the Sun and the Moon, a human being, whatever.

Chip:

So how would you explore that then with this story? How would you make that link with them?

Rob:

I would read through the story and I would ask the children what they thought about the fact that the Moon kept on changing size and I'm sure we would get the scientific reasons as well; but I would steer it more down the modern day culture side, and then talk about what they know about it, how they feel about it, whether they think it's a good idea and then steer it towards the fact that everybody is equal and you can be whatever shape you like.

Bex:

And also I guess, the Moon has a purpose in changing size. We change size for lots of different reasons, so I guess you can link it into that as well. And the Moon is beautiful, whatever size it is as well: so whether it's a full moon, or whether you get one of those lunar eclipses, or whether it's a little tiny crescent moon, it's still stunning in the night sky. So I think maybe making that link: that actually whatever size the Moon is, there's beauty and so the same with us.

Chip:

Yeah; and you can see that very clearly in the story as well. The Sun is as enamored with her when she's a size eight as when she's a size two. We had to stop there 'cause obviously it would be very difficult to do the new moon or the size zero....

Rob:

Yeah...

Chip:

But when I've performed this story for audiences in the past, we have actually done the size going in the other direction as well so she does start to get bigger. I guess one of the potential traps when you do that with the story is that your audience will then say to you, "Oh, well, hang on: you've already got some clothes that size; you don't need to make anything else. Just go and... Just go and grab what's there...!" But you could do the story in any direction, couldn't you; you could start with her being a size two, and then move up to size eight and have the clothes just not able to fit because they're too small.

Bex:

Or it's a new season you often have to have new clothes if there's a new... if there's a new trend going on! The Moon will want to be the latest...!

Chip:

...very trend conscious, yep...!

Helen:

A trend conscious Moon! Never thought of that before! With the younger children I think I'd go down a more simplistic PSHE root in that, although the Sun obviously has a motive, still the Sun is doing things that will make the Moon happy. The Sun's thinking about what would make the Moon happy, and going out of his way to make somebody else happy and I think that's quite a simple, but quite an important message. What can we do to make somebody else happy thinking about someone else's likes and dislikes and things like that.

Bex:

Yeah and picking up from that, the Moon talks about not wanting to say "No" to the Sun's imminent proposal because she doesn't want to hurt his feelings. And I think it's really good for children to think about the importance of speaking well and reacting well when the answer's "No." And it's OK to say "No" to things, but actually it's not what we say but how we say it which I'm sure we've said a million times to our classrooms: "It isn't what you said, it's how you said that, that's making me sad or upset." And actually that's a really key theme that comes through: that she doesn't really want to hurt his feelings. But also, I think it's a really good opportunity to deal with that whole issue of, "What does it look like to be friends if you're a girl with a boy?" so being friends with people of the opposite sex. I think that's really important that children know that that's okay. And also that they learn to manage that well, because if they don't then it can be difficult for them when they get older. So I think actually exploring the theme of people being people; and actually as a girl, you might have some things that you really love, that actually not a lot of your girl friends enjoy. So I know for me, when I was little, I loved climbing trees, Formula 1... and none of the girls we're interested in it. So I'd just go and talk to the boys but actually that was okay. So I think dealing with that whole, "You don't just have to be friends with people exactly like you."

Chip:

Yeah. Although, that has made me come back to this question about whether you're happy with what we did with the ending, though; because of course in the Mexican original they had the Moon and Sun in friendship perpetually. We have given it something of a happy ending for the Sun in that he wins now; he actually gets to progress from the friendship that he's had to the relationship that he wants. Do you see this as possibly contradicting what you've just said there or do you think that is a...?

Bex:

No, I think it gives an opportunity to explore other types of relationships and particularly with your Year 5 and Year 6 children at school, when you're doing your sex and relationships curriculum, obviously you need to explore friendships and what are appropriate friendships. And they will be starting to have... I mean, we've got Year 2s that say, Oh, here's my boyfriend here's my girlfriend. And actually it's really, really healthy for children to explore. Again I mean, I think we say this most podcasts: through stories is an opportunity for children to explore big issues in a safe way.

Chip:

Yeah.

Bex:

The Moon in the end needed to make a decision about what she wanted for her future and whether it was the Sun; and I think she decided, "Yes, it is!" And I think it's good to explain to the children, you have a choice in your future and the Moon's in this instance was saying "Yes" to the Sun. So I think it's got some great opportunities to explore relationships and healthy relationships and choices. And I think what you've added with them getting married actually adds to those opportunities rather than takes them away.

Helen:

I suppose you could almost use a different version of the story dependent upon what you want to achieve from it, because a lot of the curriculum links we've come up with would be similar whichever version you used and with the youngest children, just thinking about everything we've been talking about so far, I think I'd be quite keen to promote friendship between boys and girls. Because there is a general trend when, in the Early Years children are playing a lot of the day and choosing who they're going to play with so you can't sit them at mixed tables of boys and girls. And a lot of them do tend to gravitate towards groups of girls and groups of boys. So this might be a good opportunity to choose the other version of the story, and to start talking about those friendships between boys and girls.

Bex:

and I guess how you deal with it when you don't want the same thing as the person 'cause obviously in the original Mexican version, they wouldn't have got married. So actually the Sun wouldn't have got what he wanted, but does that mean he's should stop being a good friend? No!

Helen:

Absolutely.

Chip:

That's a good point! Yeah; of course, that question is left unanswered...

Bex:

...yeah!

Chip:

But I suppose all we're really doing here is promoting thought, aren't we, and care about others. Like you said the Moon really thinks hard about what her answer is going to be without hurting the Sun's feelings. The Sun is thinking really hard about what's going to make the Moon happy. It's almost like Robin Goodfellow, that I think we were talking about with you Bex a few weeks ago, isn't it: "What can we do to make others happy?" And if we manage to achieve it, then that makes us happy too.

Rob:

I've just got "Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles playing in my head.

Chip:

Well then let's move on to start seeing what other learning outcomes there are in here. It is of course World Space Week so yes, we have picked this story because there are a few science links. We first told this story for the Big Bang Engineering and Science fairs that were all around the country to help the younger children going to those festivals to get really excited by the idea of exploring the science of the solar system like a motivation builder, attracting their interest. So we're going to start with ages 4 to 7 and see where this takes us. Helen, do you want to kick us off?

Helen:

I do! Very much so. As you already mentioned, there's loads and loads of science links. If you take the broad theme of space, you can come up with at least half a term's of work. I've just got a few ideas here: to start with just looking at the Sun and the Moon, and what they are, is a great way to start in Early Years and I'd go down the sources of light and the light and dark route. 'Cause of course there's a lot of misconceptions about the Sun and the Moon, and the Moon being a source of light but actually it's not. So I'd look at that I think: a bit of work on light and dark and shadows anything with shadows is great to do with children, and you can do that from a very young age. You can do a lot of lovely work with sources of light; making dark boxes and things. The way I usually approach it because I don't have a big enough cupboard in school to fit all the children in... I usually get some tables, darken the room... Get some tables and some thick fabric over them, put some different materials in there, and then take a torch in and see which the children can see and demonstrate how some reflect the light, and some don't; which ones reflect the light best and that's a good way into thinking about the Moon reflecting light back.

Chip:

Yeah!

Helen:

I think I'd also look at the solar system because it's just fascinating for children. It doesn't really come up specifically in the Early Years science curriculum, but children are just absolutely fascinated by it. During lockdown, quite a few of the parents at home asked me for ideas about teaching their children through space because the children are so interested in it. So you can look at the solar system, the planets, where the Sun is, where the Moon is... I had to look actually, 'cause I was interested in how to teach children the phases of the Moon. With younger children is quite a difficult concept, but if you demonstrate it in this way, they can begin to see how it works. So you place yourself as Earth almost; you're holding a white ball that's the Moon; and then you've got a light source, the other side, so the Moon's between you and the Sun. And then in the dark, as you move, and as you turn the Moon, you can see the different phases of the Moon. Of course the absolute best way to see the phases of the Moon is to encourage the children to look each night and to take photos, see how it changes. And depending on the age of the children, you can set that as a bit of a homework project: to look at the phases of the Moon each night.

Chip:

There's one way of doing the light on the ball technique that you mentioned without even using a light: you can just take a ball and make one half of it white and one half of it black paint a tennis ball, for example and then move around the room, keeping the white side or the light side facing one side of the room; so if your children are in the middle, in the position of Earth, they will see the way the shape seems to change to them.

Helen:

Excellent. And that would actually be a lot easier than trying to make the room dark...!

Rob:

You can also use orange-filled chocolate biscuits to show phases of the Moon as well; Jaffa Cakes?

Helen:

Oh yes you can do...!

Chip:

You're thinking of the old "Total eclipse" advert...!

Helen:

Full moon, half moon, new moon...! So there's a few Moon and Sun science ideas.

Chip:

One of the things that we did at the Big Bang fairs was we'd finish the story, and then ask the children, "Do you think that is why the Moon changes shape?" And with younger children, we did get a few saying "Yes, but we also had a few who straight away had picked up on the fact that this was a story so it probably wasn't going to be why the Moon changed shape... But it was a really good way of leading into that discussion, and exploring it and showing the difference between what science is now and what science used to be. The common factor, of course, is that science is observation; a question of looking at the world outside and trying to understand it. And back then, the ancient Aztecs would look out at the sky, they'd see the Moon changing shape, and the most obvious answer to them was that the Moon was trying to avoid marrying the Sun. Nowadays we have... I know, but it was...! Nowadays we have telescopes and all sorts of other measuring devices that allow us to get a bit more of an accurate picture but still the core concept of science is there: looking out at the world and trying to understand it.

Helen:

You could almost start, couldn't you, actually way back before you tell the story, you could almost start with lots of images of the Moon and ask them "What's this?" And they'll establish that it's all the Moon. And you'll say, "Oh, they are not the same shape, though; they look different to me. I wonder why they're like that." And it'd be an interesting discussion to start off with.

Chip:

Yeah yeah, it would!

Helen:

See what they come up with. There'll always be some child that will already know, but...

Chip:

Yeah, well, you could say, "It could be that, or...!"

Helen:

...it could be...! Or "I'm going to tell you a story and we'll decide which one it... Which one it actually is.

Chip:

Yeah, well that's another discussion point as well, you know: what is the truth and what is the thing that they would like to be the truth?

Helen:

"Which one do we prefer? We'll go with that one!" I like that. I thought this would be a good opportunity to look at the shape of a sphere. Of course the Moon and the Sun are not going to be exact spheres, we know that, but it's a good opportunity to look at lots of different spheres: their shape, their sizes; what is a sphere, what isn't a sphere... And whenever I do shape work with children, we always go for a little wander and see what shapes we can see around us; what spheres we can find. And then from there, because the story talks about the size of the Moon and I know it's a bit different in the story because it's to do with the phases of the Moon and changing shape, but I thought it would be a good opportunity to explore measuring the circumference of the different spheres that we find. So we could do a bit of measuring: which is the biggest; which is the smallest; how are we going to find out, because you know our plastic ruler won't go around the outside of the sphere... So it could be a bit of a problem-solving activity for the children: sit them in a circle, put lots of spheres in the middle as many as you can find and challenge them to measure the circumference, and see what ideas they come up with. And once they've established how to, then you go ahead and measure them using cubes, using centimeters... So I thought that'd be a good couple of maths activities for this story. One that links quite nicely with the sphere activity is the challenge to dress the Moon again, focusing on the shape of a sphere If you find an old unwanted football or something or you can use a balloon, but it's not sphere shape. You could do some paper mache around it: I haven't done paper mache for a while; it takes a lot of patience, but it is a good activity to do, and it's really valuable for them to do that activity, persevere, and see the change in materials as it dries. But then if you have something representing the Moon, children could be challenged to create an outfit for the Moon and how are they actually going to get that outfit to stay on the Moon? Because that's quite a challenge making some clothes to fit on a sphere shape! And I really like in the story, how the Sun used the green jungle leaves, the golden sands of the desert, the mountain diamonds... I thought that was wonderful. So I thought the children could use natural materials they could find around them: imagine they were the Sun and they were looking on the school fields. ..What could they use to make an outfit for the Moon? In Key Stage 1, there's a lot of emphasis on the skill of joining. How are you going to join? How are you going to adapt your work as you go? What equipment do you need to use scissors, staplers, all of those things to create, to make your outfit work?

Chip:

So obviously it's not just World Space Week, it is National Poetry Month as well that we're exploring here. Did you get inspired by any literacy elements in the story?

Helen:

Yeah, linking on to making the outfits, I really liked the descriptions of the mountain diamonds, the wedding veil made from the shining blue seas... And I thought it would be a lovely activity to look at different parts of the world different landscapes and different features and use images, use YouTube clips... There's lovely YouTube clips now that you can get for any... You know, you can go on a walk through a jungle, you can fly over the sea it's fantastic. You can go into caves: there's a really good cave clip that I like to use. So you could take the children on a bit of a journey around the world; and think about, if they were the Sun, what would they collect? Starting with the golden sands of the desert, what would they collect and how would they describe it? You could do some lovely adjective work and turn that into a poem if you wanted to. A poem that the Sun has written about his journey. And that would also link geography, knowledge and understanding of the world as well.

Chip:

You looked like you wanted to add something Bex?

Bex:

No, I was just agreeing 'cause it's amazing, isn't it, that actually when you're looking at a story for the different age groups... The common themes that are coming through... so I was just getting excited!

Chip:

Raring to talk about the Key Stage 2 bits....! Yeah, when we do this story live, what I tend to do is ask the children to suggest something that the Sun could get for the Moon to wear, something to make that item out of, and then something that will rhyme with either of those words. So we create the poetry that goes into the Sun's spell in real time which is occasionally a challenge, especially when we are trying to make the veil out from the sea....

Rob:

Or if you get the colour orange...

Chip:

Well, we've already covered what rhymes with orange in a previous podcast, haven't we? I think Helen was there for that one, with the trolls who had stolen the potion of poetry...

Helen:

Yes, yes; that's coming back to me.

Chip:

So there are ways to do it! But yeah, it's fab making up little couplets just taking an easy set of rhymes, sometimes even nonsense words, and fitting them in. It's a good introduction to poetry I find.

Helen:

One of the Key Stage 1 history activities is to look at significant individuals, so I think I would have a look at the first landing on the Moon because that was such a huge event, and children are fascinated by it right from the Early Years. So do a little bit of work around that: what happened; what would it be like to be there; and look at lots of lovely images, like old photographs and old footage.

Chip:

Could you couple that with where the story comes from? Could you couple that with the first landing" in the Americas? the discovery of the Americas?

Helen:

Yeah, you could do that that would also be a good history link. And then just a final activity around arts. Again, it's one of those broad topics where you can create all kinds of lovely artwork, getting the children to look at images of the night sky again, and they're just absolutely fascinated by it. You can do some lovely ink and marbling work to create different planets. And I think I talked in a previous podcast about children learning to put texture onto their artwork? With the Moon, obviously the surface has got also craters and for young children, a simple way to do that is to make some really thick paint you can mix paint with flour and things, make it really nice and thick and gloopy then as it dries, the children use bottle tops to do some printing. And what's a really lovely thing to do is to give children lots of different objects and get them to experiment with the printing so their challenge is to make their moon look like the Moon, and put the craters and different textures onto it and... which of these tools slash random objects you find in the classroom is going to be the best for that? And finally... Almost finally then I've got a couple of good books... Finally, I thought... This is a little bit random, but I thought it would be a nice project particularly for Early Years, but you could do it with Key Stage 1 as well was to plan the wedding of the Sun and the Moon.

Chip:

Yeah, you always used to love planning a party in these podcasts.

Helen:

I do. Well, it's just such a... There's so many different curriculum links! And the lovely thing with Early Years is, you've got time a bit more time I think you can spend a whole day on projects like this so they could plan a wedding for the Sun and the Moon and plan what food they're going to have they can make the food if you have the time they can do invites, they can plan their outfits, things like that. And one of my favorite books, which I may have mentioned before called Bringing Down the Moon it's about a little mole that really wants the Moon. So he's trying to get the moon down. It's just one of my favorite books; the illustrations by Vanessa Cabban are stunning and it's just a very simple story, beautifully done; so I'd recommend that book to any teacher, whatever age group. So they're the ideas I had for Early Years around Sun and the Moon and things like that.

Rob:

Back to Earth with a bump.

Helen:

There you go: back to Earth with a bump!

Chip:

Well, thank you, Helen. There were loads there and that 's brilliant. And as we move up the ages, I'm sure we're going to find even more 'cause I suppose once they get to 7, whether they've learnt it in school, they probably know why the Moon changes shape now. I don't know whether it's just one of those common bits of knowledge that parents and older siblings will just tend to pass down, or whether it comes through watching TV programmes with astronauts in flying to the Moon and so on but I'll be interested to see what you would use this story for in terms of learning outcomes for ages 7 to 11. Bex, you look like you're bursting with ideas! Do you wanna go?

Bex:

I'd love to! So I don't normally start off with science and maths ever. They're not normally the first things that come into my brain; but as I was reading this story through, it screamed, "You have to talk about the science links you can have." So you can fit this story into the rocks and soils for Year 3, light for Year 3, force and magnets for Year 3; and then for Year 4, you can fit it into the topic of sound as well. So there's just so much you can... So much science content that you can get out of here. I was thinking, with rocks and soils linking it to how diamonds are formed? where do we find them...? So there's a beautiful book called The Street Beneath My Feet that, as you undo it, expands into a really long book; and you can look at each layer of the Earth and what you might find in there. So in Year 3 you can say, "What else could the Sun use to make something for the Moon that we find in the Earth because obviously the Earth is Sun's favorite place, and goes there to find all of the things to make clothes for the Moon so what else could you find? Where can you find it? And how is it made..."

Chip:

When you say "long book," is that physically long?

Bex:

Yeah, it physically folds out. So I'm quite a small person, so health and safety: I made sure that I was safe... but I stood on a chair to read the book because it was so long that I couldn't have the whole book out. But the children were just fascinated by it, because it goes through the journey from the street and then goes all the way beneath their feet to the inner core and then comes out the other side. So really, really explores the layers of the earth and the different types of rocks. And maybe thinking, "Why wouldn't you use this type of rock to make something for the Moon? Maybe it's cause it's not going to be beautiful enough for her." So that's why he sets his sights on diamonds. As Helen said, even from early on in the school we teach about observation being the key part of science; attainment target one is all about observing, classifying, looking at what's happened the skills of a scientist. The phases of the Moon, and the Moon as a topic, don't come in until Upper Key Stage 2 but they know about it 'cause they can see it every...! ...happening in their little worlds. So I would do some things on space and the Moon, because you have to when you are looking at this story, 'cause they need that prior knowledge to understand what's happening but obviously not focus on it too much because I know that's coming in Year 5. After science I looked at maths as well thinking of what's their prediction of what size the Moon's going to be next, and how do they know based on the information that they've got before? Because we can think she's going to be a size four next; well, "How do you know she's going to be a size four next? What are the previous bits of information that you've got?" Solving some maths problems and problem solving is a really big part of that new maths curriculum for every year group. We've talked previously on podcasts about the children being unable to count backwards for some reason, they seem to think that's a foreign language so you can really focus on counting backwards in different steps. And I really liked the idea that you had at the beginning Chip so I've adapted it a little bit about going back up. So the Moon getting bigger again and actually not necessarily following the same pattern so going from two to a six suddenly getting them to work out what she would be next. So wider maths thinking, and how do you know what you know from what's gone before? And how did you work that out?

Chip:

And again, giving kids the feeling of being powerful experts, because if the Sun had been as clever as they are in predicting patterns, then he might have decided, "OK, well I've just measured her; she's a six at the moment I better go and get something that's size four!

Bex:

Yeah or thinking, "It's not going to work doing something with a size because she changes all the time. So maybe I should straight away go for the veil." And also you could look at fractions again; you could look at how much she's shrunk looking at the whole of her as a size eight maybe, and then... Fractions are quite complicated to teach and understand I think sometimes; but you could use the bar model, which is a rectangle which represents the whole and then they split it into the parts to work out how much of the Moon's left, maybe. So what fraction of the whole is left when she's a size four, for example.

Chip:

Yeah. You've mentioned the bar model before with the cakes for lady chopping them up, so... So

Bex:

I thought fractions is quite a good one; and obviously counting back up again, and counting in different steps because obviously in Year 4, they've got the multiplication test coming soon. So really important that they understand how to count in different steps, to be secure in their tables, and being able to pull a random fact out of their heads and not just in all in order; so to know that seven lots of ten is seventy. And also looking at division as the inverse, so they can work out unknown facts known facts; and this would really help them to work out what size she is, and what size she's going to be next, and how do they know. So that's kind of where I got to with maths and I never start with maths and science, so I'm really inspired. Moving on to English where I feel most at home, just some book recommendations to follow on some of the ones that Helen has suggested already. There's a book called Here We Are by Oliver Jeffers that looks at the world. Quite a lot of schools may have already used it in September to start their year off. If you haven't used it in September, it's a great one for across the school. And there's a book called The Space Tortoise, where a tortoise goes and visits space and I think you can still, again, use these in Year 3 and Year 4. There's another Oliver Jeffer's a book called The Way Back Home which is all about the Moon and space exploring. And then if you're looking at the theme of light and dark as well, there's a book called The Dark by Lemony Snicket; and then a new book called The King Who Banned the Dark, which I thought might be really interesting. So the Sun would obviously be very upset if the Moon was completely banned because the dark didn't happen. But then you can also look at the fact the Moon's always there, even though we always think it's just when it dark. So you can explore that theme. So top English things that I would do: love the characters of the Sun and the Moon; I'd really explore those characters maybe getting the children to write a paragraph character description, because one of the key objectives there for English in Year 3 and Year 4 is writing a paragraph around a theme. So thinking about a paragraph about the Sun and a paragraph about the Moon and what they're like. I would also maybe challenge the children to write the story from the Moon's point of view. So re-write it being the character of the Moon, like, "I wonder what he's going to come back with next," or, Is this going to convince me to marry him?" or whatever just thinking about how does the Moon feel in this story? Is she like, "Oh, I can't wait for him to get back and see what he's going to bring!" Or is she like, "Oh, he's back again. What's he brought this time." How do they want to write it? I like opportunities for children to play with language, and where there's no right answer either because they can be whatever type of Moon they would like to be. And as we discussed earlier, a great way in as well is to look at adding another verse: so the Moon's a size ten what's the Sun going to find, and where he's going to find it. So those are the type of activities I might do for English, which kind of leads on to geography elements that you can pull out... In Year 3 and Year 4, you've got to look at the children being able to locate the major countries in the world on a map and I know we love maps on Epic Tales so actually thinking about where they could find different things: where could the Sun find diamonds? And making a map for the Sun of where he can find the things that he wants to give to the Moon. So they're locating them and they can even look at co-ordinates out of that, because that's another objective in Year 3 and Year 4 for geography. So looking at making a map with a grid on top, and then giving the Sun the coordinates: "You can find diamonds in E 5!" And just thinking about different ways for the children to communicate to the Sun where he could find the things that he's looking for. Or alternatives as well; so they could think, "OK, we don't want him to find diamonds, we'd like him to find gold. Gold we can find in this continent in this country..." And really bring in their geographical knowledge from Year 2 and below.

Chip:

One thing that you usually mention Bex, which you surprisingly haven't done so far, is pausing the story. And of course, that's one of those activities that you could do that with. You could pause the story and say, "Right, OK: where's the Sun going to find this?" and send them off on a little quest to explore the world and bring back their gold, diamonds, trees, whatever.

Bex:

I like that. I can't believe I didn't mention it actually! Of course you could pause the story!

Helen:

I really like this idea of the Sun as a world explorer you can take that so far, taking the Sun around the world? As Bex already said, if you go down to Key Stage 1 again briefly, one of the objectives is for the children to name the continents. So in Key Stage 1, the Sun could go on a journey just around the different continents and see what he could find.

Bex:

I've got an art idea I've used in the past: use "The Starry Night by Vincent van Gogh to really explore textures and imitating the style of an artist. As Helen talked about in Key Stage 1 they're really learning to use textures, and obviously a lot of van Gogh's paintings use textures so I think maybe just inspiring them to create their own "Starry Night". The painting has a... I think it's a clock tower or something... There's a landmark in it, I'm pretty sure. So maybe they could centre their "Starry Night" around a different landmark depending on where they wanted to be. So just pull in some more geography. And just to finish off with, some... This is actually my finally: some RE about different faiths and how they celebrate weddings. People celebrate the same thing in different ways, which obviously would link again back to your PSHCE as well. So just looking at faiths and saying, "How would we celebrate a wedding if we were of this faith?" Particularly in Key Stage 2, where they're starting to explore more of the world's major six faiths Christianity and Judaism, Sikhism and Hinduism, and actually lots of different faiths that'd be a good way in: something the children know to explore something they don't know. And also, in lots of the faiths, there's an importance put to light. So looking at the theme of light that we talked about earlier, just how important light is in different faiths or you could ask them the big question, "What's the importance of the Sun and the Moon in different faiths? And how do we know, and how are we going to find out?" So that's probably... I have reached the end of my list; that's my actual "finally"!

Chip:

Again, finishing with a wedding and a party though!

Bex:

Yes, exactly!

Chip:

Well yeah, by the end of what you've been talking about there Bex, I think the kids would be desperate to get into Years 5 and 6 to find out why the Moon actually does change 'cause you've rather meanly withheld that information from them...!

Bex:

It's probably because I wouldn't have the subject knowledge to do it yet; I'd have to go and look at it properly myself. Otherwise I'd have to use the Jaffa Cake as Rob suggested earlier...

Rob:

So as we was saying earlier, "Earth and Space" is a Year 5 science topic. You need to know the names of the planets; you need to know where they are... I've relative distances of the planets compared to the Sun using the school field. I have seen giant pieces of art on the ceiling with a massive sign and then different size spheres to show the other planets... On Google Earth you can look at the surface of the Moon now, and you can see all the different parts of it, so that's a good way to explore why certain parts of the Moon are named as they are. Helen; whilst you were talking about light sources I thought, "Oo! A really good thing to do with older children would be to make a camera obscura, or a pinhole camera, which just uses light. It's almost like a shoe box, and two different size holes in it, and it uses the natural light to show you what you can see. There is a big one at Greenwich and you can see from the South Bank and you can see the buildings on the North side of the Thames as well just through looking through a tiny hole, which is quite cool. Something else which popped into my head was thinking about energy sources: we can get power from the tide tidal energy we can also obviously have solar energy as well... A good way to compare the different planets and bodies in our galaxy and solar system is to use Top Trump cards I do like a game of Top Trumps. So you can compare sizes, number of moons, how long it takes to go around the Sun... all kinds of things like that. From there I came up with one maths idea, and this is quite an open-ended investigation which I would probably pitch more to Year 6 than Year 5. And it would be thinking about the things that the Sun made the clothes from so trees, sand, diamonds, and the sea... If you were going to make items of clothing from these, how much would it cost to actually do that? It would work better for the Year 6s I think, 'cause they would have more of an understanding about the production of the clothes, how much it would cost to chop the trees down, whether the trees were talking back to you about the fact that they didn't want to be cut down... That's a link, link to another podcast there...! Where you get the sand from? How were you going to extract the diamonds from the ground? It would be a good instance to get children to work in groups again: so you could have a project leader and see how the dynamics in your classroom are working. Similar to like Bex was saying write the story from a different point of view I thought you could do it for the relationship between the Earth and the Moon, because the Moon is our lunar object there are different moons for different planets so you could look at it from that perspective; following similar lines to the story, but just edit who the characters are in the story And then, as I said at the top of the podcast about different cultures having the Moon and the Sun, what popped into my head immediately were the Greek gods and the Roman gods having characters for the Sun and the Moon and their relationship with each other, how that would work. I also thought, seeing as it's to do with poetry, about doing riddles so you could do riddles to do the different kinds of clothing so if it's the trousers, you could say like, "It's sparkly you need two legs for it..." So not say it's trousers, but build up the clues to see if the children could write it without saying a bit like we've talked about with kennings as well in the past.

Chip:

Yeah. So this would be guessing both the item of

clothing and also what it's made from?

Rob:

Yep; you could do that. Or you could say, "I'm going to give you either/or: you've got to write about trousers, and we know that they're made from diamonds, but you've got to produce the riddle or the kenning without mentioning diamonds," or do it the other way around and say, "OK, you've got diamonds; the item of clothing that goes with it is trousers, but don't say trousers..." A book that I really, really like, and I try and use it as much as possible, is called The Mysteries of Harris Burdick which is by Chris Van Allsburg who wrote The Polar Express because it's just got wonderful illustrations in it. One of my favourite pictures in there is a house taking off like a rocket; you could use that as a story opener. Finally, to hook into Earth and space, there's a band called Public Service Broadcasting, and they make their music around events that have happened and they use news footage or radio commentary from the time, and they put their music to that and they did a whole album called The Race To Space which is about the lunar landings. So a lot of the songs use footage from inside NASA or from the astronauts themselves and it tells the story of getting to the Moon, but in a musical way; so it would be a good hook into teaching about the history of how we got to the Moon.

Chip:

Listening to some of those ideas, would you consider the order that you approached them in? 'Cause you mentioned looking at some of the other examples of the Sun and Moon being characterised by various mythologies from throughout time and location. I imagine that you'd do that before looking at some of the science elements, would you?

Rob:

Yes, I probably would. The way that curriculums work these days, you may be doing a topic on the Greeks or the Romans at the same time as you're doing the science about Earth and space so it will tie in quite nicely with that as well a good cross curricular link. I think that talking about the Earth and the Sun and the Moon is more relatable to us as people because we can see them without using telescopes therefore it would be easier to talk about the characterisation of them and the personification of them as well.

Chip:

Cool; although a quick, health and safety tip: don't look at the Sun at least not directly without specialist sunglasses! Have you ever tried any of those specialist sunglasses that you can use by the way?

Rob:

Personally no...

Chip:

I think I first came across a pair in the Birmingham Thinktank; they've got a planetarium there, and you can get a pair of these special sunglasses that allow you to look directly at the Sun and it's incredible how similar it looks to the Moon when you do that: I mean, it is exactly the same size, it's exactly the same level of light that you'd expect... Obviously the rest of the world seems completely black because these are really powerful sunglasses. But it's so easy to understand why ancient cultures would observe the Sun and the Moon in the sky and think that they were just two sides of the same coin almost it is magical how, from the perspective of Earth, they are so similar in size.

Rob:

I think that looking at it from that perspective is good, but looking at the way space is being explored now is wonderful for the children as well because the technology has obviously moved on a lot since the Aztecs and Ancient Greeks, and there are more and more explorations in space happening now. A spacecraft went up to look at Mars recently; Elon Musk is very into his space stuff...

Chip:

His craft came back recently didn't it.

Rob:

Yeah, yep. And because it's in the news a lot as well, children of all ages are going to pick up on this and be interested in it as well. And even if it's just, "Oh, for five minutes, we're going to watch it taking off..." or things like that. I found recently, on the internet, a time lapse of the Sun from 10 years and it was incredible just watching it, 'cause you think, "Oh, I can see the Sun I don't look at it directly every day, but... it's there every day." But this was like 10 years speeded up and you think, "Wow, that's actually quite cool not in terms of temperature, but..."

Helen:

I talked about looking at the first Moon landing, and that's a brilliant thing to look at but a good reason to look at more modern space exploration is to look at female astronauts; because there's still misconceptions amongst young children about jobs that girls and boys can do. So an advantage of looking at modern space exploration as part of this wider topic is look at some female astronauts some women that have been into space or they're planning to go into space and the aim is to get the first woman on the Moon in the next... I don't know however many years; I was reading about it. So that would be a good reason to look at modern space exploration

Chip:

And definitely in the context of this story where it's quite a female powered story isn't it. It's the Moon who's basically in charge of what happens. It is a story chockfull of learning outcomes for all of the age ranges, from 4 all the way up to 11. But if you are in a situation where you have different ages altogether from the extremes of that range, well, what would we be able to use this story for? We have already, of course, explored the PSHCE and we often do that, but one thing I didn't mention back in our first discussion just to kick us off here: when telling this story for Big Bang and we would ask is this story true, we'd have some children pointing out the real science... We'd still come back to that moral and say, "Well, there is a truth in here. OK, maybe the Aztecs were wrong to say that the reason the Moon changed shape was because she was trying to avoid marrying the Sun but were they true to say that persistence pays off or kindness pays off?" And I like the idea of exploring ancient stories like that with children, and I think you can do this with absolutely any age you can say to them, "OK, what's in the story that is an actual truth? OK, maybe fairies don't exist, maybe giants don't exist, et cetera. But what in this story is true, and feels true to you?" And quite often that is at that the level of emotional literacy or moral truths like that.

Bex:

That's really important for all children to think, because everybody needs to be able to understand in this situation there's always going to be an element that is true and an element that is maybe not true even in stories that children tell, or even in things they do. So when they try and get out of it, if they've made a mistake at school, you've often got the bit of the story that's true and then the bits that aren't true. So it's a really important skill that they can discern between things that are true and things that aren't. So I think that's a great idea. If I had a household, or was working with a multi age group, I think I would do a bit of an investigation like a problem-solving thing and saying, "Sun needs your help trying to impress the Moon." So similar to Helen's "Dress the Moon" idea, he's got to find her something that will impress her so much, but he's only allowed to use the physical features of Earth to make something; what's he going to make for her? And then you could get the children exploring, because even littler children know what's around them in their local area. Older children obviously will know a bit more about the whole world. So I would give them that problem and then get them to present their findings at the end, in whatever way they choose. So if they wanted to do a dance about it, they go ahead. That was one of my favourite things once. We were doing the seven continents, and they had to research one each, and I said, "You can present it in any way you like," and I've never said a dance before and one of the groups of my cheeky boys decided to do a dance and it was incredible! Normally in dance lessons, they're not that interested, but it was just really good to give them that freedom to present it in any way they would like to. Some might use PowerPoint, some might do a poster, some might do a dance or a production or something... but that's an easy way to get all ages involved.

Chip:

So those boys, did they create a dance based on the dance that's popular in that continent?

Bex:

So what they did was they found out facts about that continent they were looking at Antarctica and they became the animals

Helen:

You can do great things with penguin dances.

Bex:

Yeah. Yeah, and they were just... I just couldn't believe how good they were. So they focused on the animals they found; and that it was cold obviously, so they had a bit of a motif in their dance about being cold.

Chip:

Oh, wonderful. And of course, if you are doing something like that with exploring the solar system and you let them each also have a listen to the compositions of Holst, that might prompt some of them to consider dance as a means of presentation.

Rob:

You must be mind reading, 'cause I was going to mention "The Planets" suite. So I was thinking if you had to multi-age group, say, "OK, I want you to create a picture, painting, a collage, a drawing of each of the planets. Here is some music to help inspire you..." And then play the music from Holst.

Chip:

Would you give them the natural pictures as well? Or would it just be the music?

Rob:

I would get them to listen to the music first and record in some way what they think from that, and then get them to incorporate that with actual images of the planets as well. And you can bring in, say, "Mars is the god of war, and Jupiter is the bringer of jollity, so how could you show that in your picture as well?"

Chip:

Yeah, it's a good way of helping children to really understand how to interpret their senses and make sense of the world. Music is a wonderful tool for doing that.

Helen:

I also had a bit of an art idea for the all ages, but quite different. I was thinking around the Sun and the Moon and, if they were characters, what their faces might look like. And there is a slightly bizarre animation type thing on YouTube... If you Google "Mr Moon 1901", you've got the moon with a face that does lots of different expressions. It's quite bizarre, but it's something that all age groups would look at and would be really hooked in with. And I thought the idea of having them creating a character for the Sun or Moon. Give each child some clay the first challenge, which is a challenge, is to create the clay into a sphere; and then to use clay tools to carve a face onto it to give it a nose, to give it some lips and eyes, some hair... There's a lot of skills involved in there and it's an activity that all age groups could....

Chip:

Carving as opposed to sticking things on?

Helen:

You could do both. So you could do a little bit of sticking extra bits of clay on, and then you could do some carving... And it's an activity that all age groups can access from the youngest age: simply learning how to mold clay, make sure that noses and other features could stay onto the clay, how to join the clay. And then all the way up into the older years, you'd get some really intricate work and some very interesting Sun and Moon characters I would have thought. You really should look at that YouTube clip; it's really funny.

Rob:

if you were going to create the solar system out of food, what would you make the Moon out of?

Chip:

A rock cake.

Rob:

OK. Not cheese?

Chip:

Well cheese would be the obvious one.

Helen:

Any excuse to watch Wallis and Gromit: A Grand Day Out is always welcome, so... Do a whole day on Wallis and Gromit and their trip to the Moon.

Chip:

So there you are folks! We hope you heard plenty of ideas here for creating a fun, stimulating, and successful learning experience for the children in your care. If you try any of these ideas out, or if you're teaching a topic you'd like us to cover, please get in touch! You can find us on social media using @EpicTalesST, or you can email us using [email protected] We'd also be hugely grateful if you could support our podcast with a review on your favourite podcast app to help spread the word. Or if you'd like to help keep us free and ad-free, please donate some of your spare change by visiting pod.fan/epictales Right now, though, it only remains for us to say "Cheerio, and we hope to hear your story soon." So...

All:

Cheerio! And we hope to hear your story soon...!

Chip:

This Epic Tales Learning Podcast has been produced by Epic Tales. The copyright in the script, music, and audio editing is held by Epic Tales. No part of this recording may be reproduced in any way without the express permission of Epic Tales but we warmly encourage you to try the activities, build on them, and share them with as many parents, teachers, and children as you can. And please let us know how you get on with them we'd love to hear from you!

All-age Literacy, Geography, and PSHCE: persistence; comparing cultures; comparing characters; the Sun and the Moon in literature and folklore
All-age PSHCE: being happy with who you are; positive body image; equality
All-age PSHCE: making others happy; how to say "No"; speaking and reacting well; friendships between genders; other types of relationships; sex and relationships; choice and consent in relationships; healthy relationships
4–7yrs Science: Sun and Moon; light and dark; shadows
4–7yrs Science: the Solar System; phases of the Moon; skills of a scientist; observing
4–7yrs Numeracy, Science and DT: shape of a sphere; measuring a circumference; problem-solving; change in materials; paper mache (papier-mâché); using natural materials; designing and making; joining
4–7yrs Literacy and Geography: describing landscapes; poetry; understanding the world; rhyming words
4–7yrs History: Moon landings; significant individuals; discovery of the Americas
4–7yrs Science and Art: night sky images; texture; surface of the Moon; different art materials; painting; printing
4–7yrs Literacy, Numeracy, DT and Art: wedding and party planning; invitations; food planning, making and cooking; dressing up
4–7yrs Literacy and Art: Jonathan Emmett's "Bringing Down the Moon"
7–9yrs Science: rocks and soils; diamonds; Charlotte Guillain's "The Street Beneath My Feet"
7–9yrs Science: skills of a scientist; observing; classifying
7–9yrs Numeracy: prediction; counting backwards and forwards; fractions; counting in steps; preparing for multiplication tests; division as the inverse of multiplication; working out unknown facts from known facts
All-age Literacy: Oliver Jeffers' "Here We Are: Notes for Living On Planet Earth" and "The Way Back Home"; Ross Montgomery's "The Space Tortoise"; Lemony Snicket's "The Dark"; Emily Haworth-Booth's "The King Who Banned the Dark"
7–9yrs Literacy: writing a character description; changing perspectives
7–9yrs Literacy and Geography: adding verses to poems; locating major countries on a map; plotting on a map; co-ordinates
All-age Geography: naming the continents
All-age Geography and Art: Vincent van Gogh's "The Starry Night"; imitating the style of an artist; landmarks
7–9yrs RE and PSHCE: weddings in different faiths
9–11yrs Science: Earth and space; distances of the Solar System; the Moon on Google Earth; geography of the Moon; camera obscuras (pinhole cameras); light sources
9–11yrs Science: renewal energy sources; solar power; tidal power
9–11yrs Numeracy, Science and DT: designing and making a galactic Top Trumps game; clothes production; budgeting; group project work
9–11yrs Literacy and History: changing characters within a story; riddles; kennings; Ancient Greece; Greek/Roman mythology; Ancient Rome; Chris Van Allsburg's "The Mysteries of Harris Burdick"; image story openers; personification; characterisation
9–11yrs Music: Public Service Broadcasting's "The Race for Space"
All-age Science: looking at the Sun; technological progress
All-age Science and PSHCE: women in science; female astronauts; female empowerment
All-age PSHCE: emotional literacy; moral truths in stories; discerning between fact and fiction
All-age Literacy, Science, Geography, DT, Music and Art: group projects; research; physical features of Earth; problem-solving; presenting findings; dance; Holst's "The Planets" suite; responding artistically to music; interpreting senses
All-age Literacy and Art: characterisation; personification; "Mr Moon", 1901; clay-modelling; clay carving