Out of this World: Five Teaching Ideas For World Space Week

Written by Hiten Mistry, Director of Digital Learning and Innovation, Putney High School GDST

Children love learning about space and World Space Week gives teachers an ideal opportunity to bring the wonders of the universe into the classroom.

From exploring the history and future of space travel to studying different planets and our solar system, space provides endless opportunities to ignite children’s curiosity. And for teachers who love technology, there are lots of great resources to bring learning to life too.

Here are my top five resources and ideas for teaching about World Space Week.


Digital Content

When it comes to creating a hook for learning, digital content always makes lessons more engaging. Video is great for immersing learners in new topics and short clips about space can be a good way to explain concepts that students can’t easily see.

Discovery Education Espresso has a huge range of space videos mapped to the National Curriculum, including a tour around the International Space Station, an interview with astronaut Tim Peak, a film about asteroids, and much more.

For EAL pupils, the excitement of space can be a great way to spark interest in vocabulary. The British Council has some really fun videos to help students practice the names of different planets. There’s even a video that shows how to make an astronaut’s helmet!


Interactive Resources

One topic that really lends itself to hands-on learning is Space, and there are lots of free interactive resources out there that can create memorable learning experiences.

NASA’s website has some fantastic content to immerse students in all things intergalactic, from videos about astronauts to activities such as rocket building and even making edible asteroids!

Likewise, the European Space Agency is also a great source for space-related content, as is the Royal Observatory, Greenwich.


Green Screening

Green screening is another great tool for teaching about space. Transporting students to the galaxy of their choosing, it also has the benefit of being low cost and easy to set up. All you need is a tablet and an app!

Apple’s iMovie app is ideal for class green screen projects. The latest version has built-in green screen functionality, which removes the need for separate editing software. One way to get pupils really engaged is by asking them to film their own Journey To Space news report. They can use the app to edit the backdrop, and broadcast live from the Moon!


Augmented Reality

One of the best ways to teach about space, is via Augmented Reality (AR), which brings the wow factor into the classroom. AR superimposes virtual images onto students’ view of the real world and works on mobile devices with an app.

Discovery Education’s Timepod Adventures app uses state-of-the-art, life-size augmented reality that students can interact with and control. With a remote AI companion by their side, students can travel through time and visit incredible locations like the planet Mars! A web-based companion app allows for classmates to connect and collaborate remotely from anywhere.

As teachers we are all trying to create an environment that’s more interactive, and augmented reality can really help us to achieve this – particularly when teaching about space!


Future Astronauts

Bringing the wonders of space into the classroom inspires students to dream of STEM careers. And as educators, we can help students to realise that these dreams can become a reality, by introducing inspiring role models, such as real-life astronauts!

NASA has some wonderful resources to inspire girls, including videos and articles which celebrate Women At NASA, in the past present and future.

The European Space Agency (ESA) also has great content, including a lesson plan which explores a typical day in the life astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti and lots of resources about Tim Peake, including a video message with tips on becoming an astronaut, printables, experiments and more.


Here at Putney High School, we’re looking to the future, by exploring ways to integrate AI into our teaching and learning methods. We have set up an AI committee, with members from across the trust and are actively researching AI-driven tools and applications that can enhance the educational experience for students and teachers alike. Just imagine how AI will help teachers to topics like World Space Week to life? I’m excited to see what the future holds.


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