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By Jane Bower _a primary teacher and advisor in art, drama and dance. She is available to work in your school with children or for staff Inset. You can contact Jane at

Get creative with these space-themed art and literacy activities – then bring all of the children’s work together to form an awesome astronomical display


Ground control to Major Tom: What would astronauts write about in their diary?

1. Space traveller’s diary

In this activity, children write the diary entries of a space traveller, using two well known ‘space’ songs as inspiration. This can lead to a performance of readings accompanied by other spacethemed music, using your space scape displays as a backdrop.

You will need

Recordings of the song ‘Space Oddity’ by David Bowie and/or ‘Rocket Man’ by Elton John (it is useful to have both so children can compare them); scrap paper; writing paper (or photocopy a double-page spread from an empty diary for children to fill in). Optional extras: Holst’s ‘Planet Suite’; extracts from explorer Captain Scott’s diary.

What to do

  1. Play one song to the children, asking them to make notes about the spaceman’s feelings on the scrap paper. After listening, briefly discuss what the children have written down.
  2. Play the second song, asking them to jot down any similarities and differences in the attitude of this spaceman.
  3. Discuss the two songs, either as a class or in groups. How contented is each spaceman with his situation? What are their worries? They both mention other people – who? Are there any lines in the songs which indicate that they are thinking of the future? Can the children identify any lines in the songs that imply that the spacemen feel they have no choice in or control over what they do? Which is the more optimistic song?
  4. The two spacemen are voicing their personal and private thoughts as they travel. A line in Rocket Man says ‘I’m not the man they think I am at home’. Discuss with the children how we show different sides of ourselves to different people and in different situations.
  5. A diary is a place where we can bare our souls and record our feelings truthfully because it is intended to be read by no one but ourselves. Encourage the children to imagine they are alone in space and write two diary entries for two consecutive days. You might like to read extracts from Captain Scott’s diary to the children as examples of real truth on paper.
  6. Ask the children to read their diary entries aloud, against the backdrop of your moonscape display. You could intersperse the readings with songs and extracts from Holst’s Planet Suite. The children’s diary pages can be added to your space scape display.
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