RIC-20953 Early years Science - Space

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A complete unit of lessons and activities

Early years themes—Science

Published by R.I.C. Publications ® 2010

Copyright © R.I.C. Publications ® 2010


This master may only be reproduced by the

original purchaser for use with their class(es). The

publisher prohibits the loaning or onselling of this

master for the purposes of reproduction.

Copyright Information

Titles available in this series:

Early years themes—Places

Early years themes—People

Early years themes—Animals

Early years themes—Science

Early years themes—Fantasy

Early years themes—Fairytales

Early years themes—Special days and celebrations

Accompanying resources available:

Early years themes—Science Posters (set of 5)

Early years themes—Science Stickers (set of 5)

Early years themes Interactive CD (Places, People, Animals, Science)

Early years themes Interactive CD (Fantasy, Fairytales, Special days and celebrations)

Only the blackline masters contained within this

publication may only be reproduced by the original

purchaser for use with their class(es). The publisher

prohibits the loaning or onselling of these blackline

masters for purposes of reproduction. No other part of

this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any

means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying

or recording, or by any information storage and retrieval

system, without written permission from the publisher.

Internet websites

In some cases, websites or specific URLs may be recommended. While these are checked and rechecked at the time of publication,

the publisher has no control over any subsequent changes which may be made to webpages. It is strongly recommended that the class

teacher checks all URLs before allowing students to access them.

View all pages online

PO Box 332 Greenwood Western Australia 6924

Website: www.ricpublications.com.au

Email: mail@ricgroup.com.au

Early themes — Science


Early themes—Science is one of a new series of teacher resource books designed to

support teachers as they impart knowledge about commonly-taught themes in early

childhood classrooms. The books contain a variety of ideas for using the themes

to assist teachers as they convey early skills and concepts using cross-curricular

activities in learning centres or whole class activities.

Titles in this series include:

Early themes—Places

Early themes—People

Early themes—Animals

Early themes—Science

Early themes—Fantasy

Early themes—Fairytales

Early themes—Special days and celebrations

Supporting materials available from R.I.C.

Publications ® to accompany these books

include posters, stickers and interactives.


Teachers notes ................................................................................. iv – xiii

The format of this series of books ..........................................................iv – v

An explanation of the icons........................................................................ vi

About the artwork .................................................................................... vii

About the resource sheets/blacklines .......................................................... vii

Curriculum links ..................................................................................... viii

Sample social skills checklist ..................................................................... ix

Sample language skills checklist .................................................................x

Sample fi ne motor skills checklist ............................................................... xi

Sample fundamental movement skills checklist ........................................... xii

Sample mathematics skills checklist ......................................................... xiii

The fi ve senses .....................................................................................1–20

The seasons ........................................................................................21–40

Space .................................................................................................41–60

Our body .............................................................................................61–80

Water ...............................................................................................81–100

R.I.C. Publications ® – www.ricpublications.com.au Early years themes—Science iii

Teachers notes

The format of this series of books

This series of books is designed to cater for early childhood teachers who use learning centres and cross-curricular activities as a

basis for planning activities to develop key concepts and skills. Teachers will easily be able to locate activity-based learning within

this complete compilation of ideas.

All of the five themes within each book follow the same format over 20 pages. Each theme consists of:

1. A title or cover page with

appropriate artwork which

the teacher can utilise for

theme-based activities.

2. A number of pages of cross-curricular learning activities to develop the

theme. Those themes which relate closely to a specifi c learning area may

have more activities in key learning areas such as science. All themes

have activities which are predominantly ‘hands-on’.

3. Background information with useful facts

about the theme.

4. Concepts to be developed provides

suggested developmentally-appropriate

learning outcomes to be achieved by

completing the theme.

Teacher background information

This unit, ‘Our body’, will enable the children to explore and develop an awareness of their major external and internal body parts

and organs, what their body can do, how their body grows and changes and how to look after their body.

While the senses and sense organs are briefl y covered in this unit, a comprehensive coverage is treated in the unit, ‘The fi ve senses’,

on pages 1 to 20 of this book. The unit, ‘Me’, included in the ‘People’ themed book in this series, also briefly investigates aspects

of our body, with the main emphasis on self-awareness, a positive self-image and confidence in a child’s (and others’) unique

abilities and characteristics.

Change is an important part of our life. The growth stages from birth – toddler – child – teenager – adult – elderly person are all

important events in our development. Everyone experiences similar growth changes throughout their development or life. This

change or development helps to build the unique characteristics of the growing individual child.

A baby is born with about 350 bones. As the baby grows, many of these bones join together. An adult has 206 bones. The bones

are known collectively as the skeleton. It protects our internal body parts and organs, allows us to stand upright and helps us to

move. For example, the skull protects the brain, the ribs protect the heart and lungs, the bones have joints which allow the skeleton

to bend and us to move.

The traditional sense organs are the eyes, ears, nose, tongue and skin. We learn about

ourselves through using these five senses. Other important organs include the:

• heart, which pumps blood containing oxygen around the body

• brain, which controls our feeling, thinking and movement

• lungs, which fi ll up with air when we breathe in

• stomach, which digests food, and the liver, which also helps to digest food

• kidneys, which help get rid of wastes

• intestines, which carry wastes out of the body.

To keep our body healthy we need to eat healthy food, drink plenty of water, get enough

sleep, make time to relax, keep clean, visit the dentist regularly, visit a doctor when

necessary, and exercise.

Concepts to be developed

• Our body is made of different parts.

• We can see the parts of our body on the outside but not the parts on the inside.

• Our skin and hair cover the outside of our body.

• Our skeleton is under our skin.

• Our skeleton is made up of lots of bones joined together.

• Some special parts inside our body are the heart, lungs, stomach and brain.

• Our skeleton is hard. It protects these special body parts, which are soft.

• Different parts of our body help us to do different things.

• We can do lots of different things. Some of these are thinking, running, drawing,

sleeping, swimming and breathing.

• Our body changes as we grow older.

• We must take care of our body.

• We take care of our body by doing things such as eating healthy foods,

drinking plenty of water, getting enough sleep and exercising.

68 Early years themes—Science—Our body www.ricpublications.com.au – R.I.C. Publications ®

iv Early years themes—Science www.ricpublications.com.au – R.I.C. Publications ®

Teachers notes

The format of this series of books

5. A small number of resource/blackline pages which can be used

to create games or oral language activities, as templates for art

and craft activities or as worksheets for more capable children who

are beginning to read and understand mathematical concepts.

6. Recipes relating to the theme—simple

cooking and non-cooking recipes,

including those for manipulative play,

such as ‘goop’.

7. Display ideas for art and craft or

specifi c learning centres.

8. A list of literature resources to

complement the theme, including

songs, action rhymes and fi ction

and nonfi ction books.

9. A notes section to enable the teacher

to record useful websites or resources

relating to the theme, or other

worthwhile activities or ideas etc.

R.I.C. Publications ® – www.ricpublications.com.au Early years themes—Science v

Teachers notes

An explanation of the icons

A number of icons have been used throughout the cross-curricular activities sections to make it easier and quicker for teachers to

locate appropriate learning activities.

Fine motor activities—building with blocks, puzzles, sorting, sand and water play, sensory items

such as ‘feely boxes’, playdough or clay work, threading, chalkboards, construction using recycled

materials such as boxes

Outdoor play—sand and/or water play (see also ‘fi ne motor activities’); gross motor activities such as climbing,

balancing, bikes, scooters, jumping, throwing, obstacle course activities etc.; tracking activities using balloons

and bubbles etc.; other messy art activities

Dramatic play—home corner, dramatising stories, dressing up, puppets, shopping etc.

Art and craft—free painting, directed and supervised painting, craft

(assisted and independent)

Computer—suggestions for simple games or activities (usually

individual or pairs) or relevant internet activities

Cooking—supervised activities, some of which use heat and others which do not

Games—indoor or outdoor games relating to literacy such as card games, memory games

etc.; mathematics, singing games, any physical education games involving movement etc.

Writing—tracing, copying, writing on, and with, different things—cards, different types of paper etc.;

adding patterns or stripes etc.; tracking and following paths, dot-to-dot activities etc.

vi Early years themes—Science www.ricpublications.com.au – R.I.C. Publications ®

Teachers notes

About the artwork

All the artwork in this series of books is:

• age-appropriate

• teacher- and child-friendly

• an additional resource to help develop the theme

• suitable for enlarging for:

~ colouring

~ handwriting

~ dot-to-dot sheets

~ use as templates for art and craft activities

~ visual texts to encourage oral language development.

Some artworks are based on simple shapes to support learning

in the mathematics area; others are more elaborate. It is expected

that early childhood teachers will view an illustration based on

shapes and be able to use this idea to develop concrete play

activities using shapes or as a technology and design project.

More elaborate artwork is used to demonstrate a teaching resource

which needs to be made, a recipe, game or other activity.

Examples of artwork relating to art and craft activities have wide,

bold, easily visible cutting outlines to allow the children some

variation in the cutting path they will use.

About the resource sheets/blacklines

Resource sheets/blacklines contain:

• simple, age-appropriate artwork

• prominent visual clues

• little or no text

• visual clues to support text pages

• few instructions, so as not to confuse beginning readers

• teacher instructions in the margins with a number of

different suggestions for using the resource sheet/blackline

• literacy and numeracy activities.

These resource sheets/blacklines are included as valuable timesavers

for teachers.

It is anticipated that the teacher will enlarge any pages to A3

size and photocopy them onto more durable paper or card, to

make them easier for learners of this age group to manipulate.

The cross-curricular section of each theme includes a reference

to resource sheets/blacklines relating to specifi c activities.

R.I.C. Publications ® – www.ricpublications.com.au Early years themes—Science vii

Teachers notes

Curriculum links

All the learning activities in this series of books support the key learning areas of the current curriculum documents.

In particular, one or more activities also support each strand of the new English and Mathematics National Curriculum. The specifi c

strands from the National Curriculum relating to each activity are denoted by the words in brackets in the English and Mathematics

learning areas of the cross-curricular section.

For example, in ‘The fi ve senses’ theme:

• English The children write letters or their name in paint mixed with shaving cream or sand on a tray. (Language)

• Mathematics Listen to, and repeat, simple patterns such as clap, stamp, click. (Number and Algebra)

Reference to both is shown below.

Relevant curriculum reference






National Curriculum: refer to Pages 6 and 11 Shape of the Australian Curriculum: English

National Curriculum: refer to Pages 6 and 7 Shape of the Australian Curriculum: Mathematics

National Curriculum: Science learning activities also support Pages 6 and 7 Shape of the Australian

Curriculum: Science

Belonging, being and becoming: The Early Years Framework for Australia (2009)

Refer to Early years curriculum guidelines page 55 (Table 9: A

summary of the learning statements in the early learning areas)

and pages 61–75.

Refer to ‘Early years band: Age 3–Age 5’. South Australian

Curriculum, Standards and Accountability at < http://www.decs.

sa.gov.au/ >.

Refer to Victorian essential learning standards Level 1 at

< http://vels.vcaa.vic.edu.au/vels/level1.html# >.

Refer to K-3 scope-and-sequence charts at < http://k-10syllabus.


syllabus >.

viii Early years themes—Science www.ricpublications.com.au – R.I.C. Publications ®

Teachers notes

Sample social skills checklist


Student name

separates easily

from parents

interacts readily with


interacts readily with


shares with others

and takes turns

participates in group


cooperates with



responsibility for

own behaviour

respects the property

of others

respects the feelings

of others

listens without


expresses feelings


solves simple


is developing an

awareness of the

wider community

R.I.C. Publications ® – www.ricpublications.com.au Early years themes—Science ix

Teachers notes

Sample language skills checklist


Student name

communicates needs clearly

articulates most words correctly

relates personal experiences

contributes to discussions

uses age-appropriate


articulates most initial sounds


asks appropriate questions

speaks in complete sentences

relates events in order of


able to tell a story from pictures

retells a familiar story without

pictures or clues

uses simple compound


responds appropriately to

questions about himself/herself

listens to a story for a given

length of time

follows simple two-step


knows his/her fi rst and last


recognises rhyming words

answers simple oral cloze


labels emotions such as happy,

sad, angry, scared …

x Early years themes—Science www.ricpublications.com.au – R.I.C. Publications ®

Teachers notes

Sample fine motor skills checklist


Student name

completes simple puzzles

builds a tower of eight or more

small blocks

dresses himself/herself (apart

from buttons and shoelaces)

manipulates playdough to

create a specifi c object

places small pegs in small


threads small beads

uses scissors to cut out simple

shapes and pictures

completes simple folding


uses a knife, fork and spoon


holds a crayon or pencil


colours within lines

writes or copies own name

draws and copies simple


copies a sequence of letters or

numbers adequately

traces or recreates patterns

R.I.C. Publications ® – www.ricpublications.com.au Early years themes—Science xi

Teachers notes

Sample fundamental movement skills checklist


Explicit teaching


Student name

balances on one

foot (static balance)


jumps vertically

catches a ball or



throws a ball or

beanbag using an

overarm movement

gallops sideways



kicks a ball

strikes a ball or

object using a twohanded


dodges a ball

or object

xii Early years themes—Science www.ricpublications.com.au – R.I.C. Publications ®

Teachers notes

Sample mathematics skills checklist


Number and algebra Measurement and geometry Statistics and probability

Student name

recognises numerals 1 to

writes numerals 1 to

rote counts to

places numerals to

in correct order

understands one-to-one


understands ‘more than’ or ‘less


able to do simple addition and

subtraction using concrete materials

shares collections

creates or completes a pattern

measures using everyday items

makes comparison of size and


recognises basic shapes

identifi es attributes of objects and


is aware of use of devices used

for measuring (scales, tape etc.)

shows awareness of

(money, temperature, time)

sorts or orders objects

is aware of collections and

presentations of data

interprets data in a display

makes predictions about chance


R.I.C. Publications ® – www.ricpublications.com.au Early years themes—Science xiii

Cross-curricular activities


• Provide sheets of black paper

and white or yellow crayons, or

coloured chalks for the children

to write or draw with in the writing

corner. (Literacy)

• Read the book Aliens love

underpants! by Claire Freedman.

Discuss what an alien is and

what an alien may look like. Ask

the children to draw a picture of

an alien and label it ‘My alien’,

copying the words from the board.

(Literacy, Literature)

• Practise writing zigzag or straight

lines to create stars; circular lines

to draw spaceships, the sun and

moon; spiral lines to create aliens,

the sun or planets; and wavy

lines to indicate the motion of the

planets. (Literacy)

• Create class-made books about

space using simple repetitive

sentences; for example, ‘There

are stars in space. The sun is in

space. There are planets in space.

There are comets in space. There

are satellites in space’. Select

individual children to illustrate

specifi c pages. Refer to page 50.

(Language, Literacy)

• Say a list of words relating to

space. The children respond with

words that have the same initial

sound, or words that rhyme. Write

some lists so that the children can

see the similarities. For example,

space, place, face, race. Make

up funny class rhyming stories or

simple rhymes; for example, ‘I see

a face in space. It knows its place.

It is the moon. But at noon it is

gone soon’. (Language)

• Introduce the space theme by

reading the book There’s no

place like space by Tish Rabe.


• Read simple nonfi ction books

about the solar system and its

planets, and fi ction stories relating

to space. (Literature)

• Compare a fi ction and nonfi ction

book about space. What is the

same? What is different? Which

was the more or less enjoyable

book to listen to? (Literature,


• View books, posters or internet

pictures of space, including

pictures of planets, spaceships,

the sun, astronauts, comets and

meteors, telescopes, the moon

and space satellites, and discuss

them. (Literature, Literacy)

• View sections of The lion king DVD

where the characters discuss the

origins of the stars. (Literacy)

• Read Aboriginal Australian and

Native American legends to

the children about the origins

of the sun, planets, stars and

moon. Select those which are

appropriate. (Literature)

• Recite the rhyme ‘Star light,

star bright ...’ with the children.

Provide a sparkling star shape for

each child. Place the shapes in

a bag. Ask each child in turn to

take out a star and make a wish.

Encourage them to share their

wishes or write them down on the

back of their stars. Children who

do not wish to tell their wishes

should be allowed to keep them to

themselves. (Literacy)

• Read the book Time for bed by

Mem Fox. Discuss day and night.

Why do they happen? Demonstrate

using a globe and a fl ashlight.

(Refer to Science section.) What

things happen at night-time and

during the day? Ask the children

to imitate a rooster crowing to

signal morning has arrived. Ask

the children to fold a sheet of

A3 art paper in half (landscape

position). On one side, use

coloured oil pastels to draw a

picture of something that happens

during the day, and on the other

side draw a picture of something

that happens at night-time, such

as going to sleep in bed. Ask the

children to copy the title ‘day’ and

‘night’ on the correct sides using

black oil pastels. They then paint

over the ‘day’ side using watereddown

yellow paint and the ‘night’

side using watered-down black

paint. (Language, Literature,


• Introduce or reinforce the initial

sounds ‘s’ for ‘space’, ‘star’ and

‘sun’; ‘m’ for ‘moon’ and ‘a’ for

‘astronaut’. See page 49. Write

them on art and craft-created

shapes; for example, ‘s’ on a ‘star’

shape, ‘m’ on a ‘moon’ shape and

‘a’ on an astronaut shape. Ask the

children to cover a black cut-out of

the letter ‘s’ using coloured stars

to reinforce its shape and sound.


• Make up a simple funny sentence to help the children remember the names of the eight planets in order from

the sun; for example, My Very Excited Mum Just Saw Uncle Ned! (Language)

42 Early years themes—ScienceSpace www.ricpublications.com.au – R.I.C. Publications ®

Space – 1


• Create star constellations using marshmallows and toothpicks. (Measurement

and Geometry)

• Sort different cardboard stars and moons by shape, size and colour.

(Measurement and Geometry)

• Count and write the number of points on different types of stars.

Ask the children to glue a specifi c number of dots or star stickers to each star.

(Number and Algebra)

• The children arrange cut-out, coloured and laminated pictures of planets, stars,

moons or spaceships, in order from largest to smallest or smallest to largest.

(Number and Algebra, Measurement and Geometry)

• Match up pairs of space shapes

which have numbers and dots

in arrays on them. (Number and


• Count and place number cards

backwards in order to blast

off (10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2,

1, 0, Blast off!). Alternatively,

stack numbered blocks in order.

(Number and Algebra)

• Build a tangram rocket. Refer to page 52. (Measurement and Geometry)

• Using felt cut-outs and a felt board,

select children to place stars in

specifi c locations in relation to

the moon; for example, above the

moon, next to the moon, under

the moon, between the moon and

another star. (Measurement and


• Construct a noughts and crosses

board using black card and ruled

white or yellow lines. Reproduce

aliens and astronauts or the sun

and planets using photocopied,

coloured and laminated pictures to

play the game. Refer to page 55.

(Measurement and Geometry).

• Use a six-sided dice and coloured

shapes to play a game to construct

a rocket picture. Throw the

numbers and shapes in this order:

6-rectangular body, 5-triangular

nose of rocket, 4-trapezium tail,

3-triangular side wing, 2-other

triangular side wing, 1-circular

logo for the rocket. (Measurement

and Geometry)

• The children place star stickers at random on a sheet of black paper, then use a white crayon to connect them to create a

‘shape’ for a star constellation. (Measurement and Geometry)

• The children glue the correct number of coloured paper rays on a circular yellow paper sun to match the number written on

it. (Number and Algebra)

• Ask the children to stamp a given number of stars on fl ag shapes. (Measurement and Geometry)

• Count the number of planets

on a poster of the solar system.

Find the corresponding numeral,

number word and dots. (Number

and Algebra)

• State the position from the sun,

in order from fi rst to eighth, of the

planets in the solar system, as

viewed on a poster or other visual

resource. (Number and Algebra)

• Discuss the probability of the

students fl ying to the moon,

reaching the sun, living on Mars

etc. (Statistics and Probability)

• Attach metal paperclips to a variety of coloured,

laminated, cardboard space pictures. Add numbers or

dots in arrays to them. Attach a magnet to one end of

a length of string, wool or fi shing line; and a rod, ruler,

pencil or wooden chopstick to the other. Let the children

go fi shing for space objects. (Number and Algebra)

• Have the children clip clothes pegs to indicate the correct

number (from of choice of three) of stars, rockets,

planets etc. on a card or sheet. (Number and Algebra)

R.I.C. Publications ® – www.ricpublications.com.au Early years themes—ScienceSpace 43

Cross-curricular activities

Visual arts

• Give each child a large yellow paper circle. Drop a small blob or two of orange and/or red onto each

circle and ask them to use a toothpick or cotton bud to spread the hot colours out towards the edges

of the ‘sun’. Allow to dry. Alternatively, the children press red, orange and yellow paper to a sheet of

self-adhesive plastic sheeting. Cover with a second sheet and cut out a circle for the sun.

• Provide each child with two paper plates. They paint one plate yellow and half of the other black (as

shown). When dry, add facial features to both and triangles or curled strips around the edge the yellow

plate for the sun’s rays. Star stickers can be glued to the black half of the moon plate. Staple back to

back and hang to display so that day and night ‘revolves’.

• Trace around star cookie cutters on sponges and cut out the shapes. Use them to print on black paper with white or yellow

paint. Sprinkle salt or glitter on the star prints while still wet. Alternatively, use star cookie cutters themselves to print with.

• Give the children large cardboard star shapes to decorate for use as placemats for snack times.

Cover with clear self-adhesive plastic sheeting to make more durable.

• Make moonscapes using large handfuls of playdough rolled fl at and moulded into circle shapes.

Create craters by poking fi ngertips or the ends of pencils into the dough. Alternatively, use round

cookie cutters to cut out moon shapes. (Alternative 1: Dried beans and pasta can be glued to

paper plates to create moonscapes. Cover with foil. Alternative 2: Give each child a circle of

yellow cardboard. Make a thick paste using water and fl our for the children to spread over the


• Make headbands for aliens. Join two coloured pipe-cleaners together to fi t each child’s head. Give

the children other pipe-cleaners to twist into interesting alien shapes or antennae and attach them to the circular band.

• Make spaceships. Cover styrofoam bowls with foil then push pipe-cleaners through them. Add coloured pompoms or beads

to the ends of the pipe-cleaners.

• Completely cover the bottom of a number of upturned round cake pans with metallic blue and green paint. Ask each child to

take a print on black paper of his/her paint design. This is the planet. When dry, add star stickers or glitter around the planet.

Alternatively, spray coffee fi lters, dotted with food colouring, with water to create planets.

• Create space satellites using shapes, collage materials, cocktail sticks etc.

• Create aliens using symmetrical blob paintings and collage materials.

• Make fl ying saucers by gluing together two CDs and two plastic dome lids glued top and bottom. (These are available

cheaply from plastic suppliers.)

• Make a telescope using a cardboard tube over which two layers of black tissue paper have been placed and secured with a

rubber band. Poke holes in the tissue paper to ‘view’ the stars.

• Paint both sides of a paper plate red, orange and yellow to make comets. Add gold glitter while still wet, and yellow, orange or

red streamers when dry. Use a star shape and a similar technique to create shooting stars. If possible, display sideways.

• Provide simple animal shapes to trace on black cardboard or paper to create an animal-shape star constellation.

Technology (and design)

• Provide a variety of small boxes and

other recyclable materials for the

students to design and make their

own spacecraft or space vehicle.

• Use the Internet to fi nd a picture of a

real astronaut. Print a copy for each

child to glue a digital picture of his/her

own face over the astronaut’s.

• Visit to

watch and listen to a story about the moon and wishing on a star.

• Use a simple drawing and painting software application to create the solar

system with a black background, eight circular, coloured planets and a

very large sun in the middle. Print and display all the computer-generated

artwork. The children dictate or write a sentence to accompany their pictures.

If time is available, the teacher or an adult helper can type these, print them

and glue to the children’s pictures.

44 Early years themes—ScienceSpace www.ricpublications.com.au – R.I.C. Publications ®

Space – 2


• Make a rocket that really blasts off!

Provide each child with half a sheet of A4

paper and a pencil. Place the pencil across

one corner of the paper and roll it tightly around the pencil to the

opposite corner. Tape the corner edge to create a cylinder and let the pencil fall

out. Fold one end of the cylinder down by about 2 cm and tape closed. This is

the body of the rocket. Glue or tape two paper triangle wings close to the open

end of the cylinder. Insert a straw into the open end of the rocket and the child

blows to make the rocket ‘blast’ off. If desired, play a game to see whose rocket

can fl y the furthest.

• Demonstrate the concept of what a constellation is by using a nail to poke holes

in the bottom of an empty tin such as a Pringles ® tin and letting the children

look inside. They need to hold the can to their eyes and use their hands to keep

out excess light. They will see the pinpricks of light entering from the bottom of

the can.

• Shine fl ashlights in a darkened classroom to demonstrate stars shining at nighttime.

Switch them on and off to simulate the stars ‘twinkling’.

• Demonstrate the revolution of the planets around the sun. Tie wool to one end

of a metal washer (a planet) and the other to a craft stick (the sun). Hold the

craft stick and make the planet ‘revolve’ around the sun. The children can make

one of their own as long as care is taken when being used.

• Using appropriately-coloured playdough or modelling clay make each of

the eight planets in the solar system. If possible, make them in approximate

proportion. Display on a sheet of black card or paper. Refer to teacher background

information on page 48 for planet colours.

• Let the children experience the texture of moon dust by mixing black or grey

powdered chalk with fl our and placing it in a tub or container. (This is a very

messy activity!)

• View and sequence cards which show the different phases of the moon. Refer

to blackline on page 53.

• View ‘real’ pictures of star

constellations so that the children

can see how arrangements of stars

make a constellation and ‘pictures’

or designs. Give the children black

sheets of paper and star stickers

to create their own constellations.

Use a yellow or white crayon to

join the stars together in a design

or picture. Ask each child to name

his/her constellation.

• View posters which show actual

pictures of the sun and the planets

in the solar system. Discuss the

planets’ positions in relation to

the sun, planet colours and sizes.

Have the children create their own

posters using simple, coloured

circles and black paper.

• Make a ‘Universe in a bag’. Fill a

Snap Lock ® bag with inexpensive

blue hair gel, glitter and sequin

stars. Seal shut and ‘move’ around

the contents inside the bag.

• Have the children glue pre-cut

green land shapes onto a bluepainted

paper plate to represent

the land and water sections of

planet Earth.

• Glue four pipe-cleaners to show

the rings of Saturn around a foam

ball painted yellow with grey


• Demonstrate how the sun dries up (evaporates) water in full sun. Pour a small

container of water on the footpath and watch as it dries. View cracks in the dry

ground where water has evaporated and plants dying through lack of water.

• Demonstrate how day and night occur. Push a long wooden skewer through the

middle of a large styrofoam ball or spherical fruit or vegetable. Shine a torch

on one side of the ball and slowly rotate it on its axis (the skewer) to show the

light (morning) and dark (night) sides. Mention also the concept of the light

side being warmer and the dark side being colder.

• Blow up and immediately release

balloons around the room to

demonstrate how spaceships or

rockets launch into space.

R.I.C. Publications ® – www.ricpublications.com.au Early years themes—ScienceSpace 45

Cross-curricular activities

Health and physical education

• Discuss rules for

keeping safe in the

sun. List these in the

form of a rebus. For


‘Slip on a .’

‘Slap on .’

• The children crumple

up sheets of A3

art paper or A4

photocopy paper.

These represent

weightless moon

rocks. Hold a

competition to see

who can throw

their moon rock the


• Connect a skipping rope to a hoop. Then tie the rope to a strong climbing frame. The

children take turns standing inside, and holding onto, the hoop and going for a ‘moon

walk’. The hoop represents the spacesuit and the frame is the spaceship/shuttle.

• Cover an area of the fl oor or outside area with objects such as pillows and large blocks etc.

then drape large sheets over the objects to represent the terrain of the moon. The children

take turns to walk around the moon’s terrain individually or in pairs. To make the activity

more interesting, make ‘space boots’ from shoeboxes for them to wear while walking.

Alternatively, provide a foam mattress for them to bounce on in bare feet.

• Groups of fi ve children to sit in a circle on the fl oor with their legs extended in a ‘V’ shape

to touch each other’s toes and create a ‘star’ shape. If desired, take a digital photograph of

them from above so that the children can see the star shape they made.

• Clap, jump, hop, tap toes, click fi ngers etc. eight times each to present the number of

planets in the solar system.

• Create the solar system using children. In groups of nine, one child stands in the middle as

the sun and the others walk around in circular shapes around it to ‘orbit’ the sun.

• Play ‘Astronaut, astronaut, alien’ instead of ‘Duck, duck, goose’. Refer to for instructions about how to


• Combine physical education and other learning areas by rewarding children who correctly

answer questions and allowing them to throw a bean in one of the three tubs marked Earth,

Sun or Moon.

Society and environment

• Read stories such as Lester and Clyde by James Reece.

The book describes how pollution affects the habitat

of two frogs. Discuss pollution in general and how the

children can help to look after their home, planet Earth.

• The children view pictures of the landscape of the moon

and describe what they see. List and draw human-made

objects in space, such as satellites, rockets, shuttles, and

moon modules, for child reference in the writing corner.

• Relate (or view televised historic footage of) the fi rst

moon landing.

• Read The sun: Our nearest star by Franklyn Mansfi eld

Branley and discuss how the sun helps us grow the food

we eat.

• Relate or read simple information about the Chinese

Moon Festival. Explain that the festival was to celebrate

the end of the harvest and usually occurred at the time

of the full moon. Show (or paint) pictures of the full

moon, read legends such as The Hare – Jade Rabbit

and bake moon cakes as they do in China. Refer to

for information about the Moon Festival, and for information

about the Star Festival.

• View pictures of astronauts

working or living in space.

Discuss or make a list of

things astronauts do as

part of their job. Pretend to

do some aspects of their


• Relate or read information about the Japanese Star Festival

(Tanabata 7 July). The children dictate, draw or write

their wishes on coloured strips of paper to hang on the

branches of trees, just as Japanese children do for the

Star Festival.

• Ask the children to draw (and write) about things

they do during the day and at night. As a class,

sort these into groups to show similar and different

characteristics among people.

46 Early years themes—ScienceSpace www.ricpublications.com.au – R.I.C. Publications ®

Space – 3


• Provide white overalls or white long-sleeved shirts,

trousers and shoes, socks and gloves, ice-cream

containers or large paper bags (with cut-outs for eyes)

for the children to wear and use as spacesuits.

• Drape and tape white shower curtains over some

boxes and/or desks to create a space shuttle. (Just

like a cubby—only better!)

• Pretend to scream on the moon. Because no vibrations

are heard, the children can practise ‘yelling’ and

‘screaming’ with open mouths but no sound.

• Suspend different types of play food from fi shing lines

or string hanging from the ceiling. Ask the children to

practise eating in ‘zero gravity’.

• Place clothing such as dresses and shirts; children’s

sunglasses; tablecloths and napkins, and plates with

stars on them, as well as star cookie cutters, in the

dress-up corner.

• Give each child star stickers to attach to their fi ngers

to use as fi nger puppets when reciting rhymes about

stars. Refer to literature resources pages.

• Use large blocks to create the body of a spaceship.

Add an old computer keyboard for the controls of the


• With the children’s assistance, paint the inside of a large

packing box with black paint. When dry, attach glow-in-thedark

stickers for the children to view ‘stars’ twinkling in space.

If the box is large enough, place a child’s chair inside.

• Make space helmets from large plastic milk cartons and

aluminium foil, and air tanks from recycled plastic soft drink

bottles, taped together and strapped on with strips of fabric

or ribbon. Use two thick car washing sponges as moon

walking boots for the ‘Space shuttle’ (Home corner).

• Place an open suitcase in the middle of a circle of children.

Ask them to pretend they are going on a trip into space.

‘What would you pack in your suitcase?’ Ask the children to

draw large colourful pictures of the items they would take,

explaining why they would take them. Then the children

place their pictures in the suitcase.

• The children crouch down on the fl oor and gradually, as

they count from 1 to 10, raise their arms and jump up to


• Tether the children together loosely using old ties or skipping

rope and practise ‘fl oating’ in space.


• Adapt and play a game

of musical chairs with

the chairs representing

spaceships, or use large

cardboard pictures of

planets for the children to

stand on.

• Spray crumpled paper balls with silver paint. Hide them

in places around the room while the children are at play

or another activity. Sing ‘A-hunting we will go, a-hunting

we will go. We’ll fi nd a shiny moon rock And put it in a

box … and then we’ll put it back’.

• Place a large yellow ball in the middle of the children,

who are grouped in a circle. To the tune ‘The ants go

marching one by one …’ sing the words ‘The planets

move around the sun, hurrah! hurrah! The planets move

around the sun, hurrah! hurrah! The planets move around

the sun and spin on their axes everyone. And they all

go spinning, around and around they go’. The children

move and spin around the sun while singing.

• Play a singing game about the solar system to the tune

‘The farmer in the dell’. Use the words ‘The sun is out

in space … . Heigh-ho, the derry-o, the sun is out in

space. (Verse 2) The sun takes Mercury … and they all

spin around the sun’. Continue with the planets in order

from the sun. Select one child to be the sun and stand in

the middle. As each planet (child) is chosen, the child

moves in a circular motion around the sun.

R.I.C. Publications ® – www.ricpublications.com.au Early years themes—ScienceSpace 47

Teacher background information

The theme Space is extremely broad. The following aspects have been included: the eight planets of the solar system; including

Earth; stars and constellations; astronauts; comets and meteors; the sun; telescopes; the moon; and satellites. Only brief details

have been included about each below. However, more detailed information can be found using internet sources. Also included is

the concept of ‘aliens’.

‘Outer space’ can be defi ned as the relatively ‘empty’ regions in the universe beyond the atmosphere of celestial bodies, including

Earth. Space includes planets, stars, comets, the sun, moons, asteroids, meteors, natural and built satellites and spacecraft. There

is no air in space.

The solar system is our sun and the eight planets that travel around it: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and

Neptune. Each planet moves around the sun in its own special pathway called an orbit. The planets in order of size from largest

to smallest are: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, Earth, Venus, Mars and Mercury. The sun, of course, is much larger than all of

them. The colours of the planets are: Jupiter (red/brown and cream stripes with a red ‘eye’, Saturn (yellow and grey stripes), Uranus

(light blue with white at the polar cap), Neptune (blue), Earth (blue and green), Venus (bright yellow and orange), Mars (red) and

Mercury (brown and grey).

The movement of the Earth on its axis in relation to the sun creates day and night. The tilt of the Earth on its axis creates the different


Stars are giant spheres of gas which give off both heat and light. They appear to twinkle because their light is bent by turbulence in

the Earth’s atmosphere. They can be many different colours, depending on their temperature. The hottest stars are blue. Our sun is

an example of a cooler, yellow star. Some stars form patterns called ‘constellations’. A galaxy is by defi nition any large system of

stars held together by gravitation and separated from any other similar system by great areas of space.

Meteors are pieces of rocky or metallic material which come into the Earth’s atmosphere and burn up. Comets are chunks of dirty

ice, dust and gas.

A telescope is an optical instrument or device for making distant objects appear nearer and larger. Astronomical telescopes are used

for viewing objects outside the Earth. Most telescopes are located on Earth, but others have been put in space.

Concepts to be developed

• Outer space is made up of many things—natural and human-made.

• The eight planets in the solar system in order are: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars,

Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. (Pluto is no longer considered a ‘full’ planet.)

These orbit the sun.

• The sun gives heat and light to Earth.

• The moon is the only natural satellite of Earth. It has lots of different landforms and

different phases.

• Astronauts go into space. They need special clothes to help them survive, and special transport to travel in space.

• Stars are large bodies in space. There are many stars in space including those in constellations. They appear to twinkle.

• Meteors (falling or shooting stars) and comets are found in space.

• Astronomers use telescopes to learn about space.

• We can imagine that there are aliens in space and what they may be like.

Phases of the moon





New moon

Waxing crescent

First quarter

Waxing gibbous





Full moon

Waning gibbous

Last quarter

Waning crescent

48 Early years themes—ScienceSpace www.ricpublications.com.au – R.I.C. Publications ®

Space sounds

Instructions: The children draw a line from the initial sound to the picture that begins with that sound. The children can also trace over each sound to practise writing.

R.I.C. Publications ® – www.ricpublications.com.au Early years themes—ScienceSpace 49

My space book

There are planets

in space.

’s space book

There are astronauts

in space.

There are stars

in space.

There are spaceships

in space.

Are there aliens

in space?

Instructions: Enlarge to A3 size. Read with the children. Colour the pictures. Draw an alien for the fi nal page. Cut the

strips and staple them together with the cover page on top. Ensure that the children write their name on the cover.

50 Early years themes—ScienceSpace www.ricpublications.com.au – R.I.C. Publications ®

Star puzzles

Instructions: Enlarge to A3 size. Cut the four sections apart. Ask the children to complete each section separately

by joining the dots, or tracing over the dotted lines. Colour or complete using writing patterns.

R.I.C. Publications ® – www.ricpublications.com.au Early years themes—ScienceSpace 51

Build a shape rocket

Instructions: Use the dotted shape as a guide to direct the children how to use coloured shapes or wooden pattern blocks to create a rocket picture. OR

Enlarge to appropriate size, have the children colour and cut out the tangram rocket pieces and glue them to the dotted template to create a rocket.

52 Early years themes—ScienceSpace www.ricpublications.com.au – R.I.C. Publications ®

Sun jigsaw puzzle

Instructions: Colour, cut out and laminate the puzzle pieces for the children to join together. Use the completed picture, without cutting into puzzle pieces, for discussion.

R.I.C. Publications ® – www.ricpublications.com.au Early years themes—ScienceSpace 53

Alien mask

Instructions: Use the mask base as a template to trace onto cardboard. Allow the children to add additional features using collage materials to make the alien mask individual.

54 Early years themes—ScienceSpace www.ricpublications.com.au – R.I.C. Publications ®

Aliens and astronauts game

Instructions: Play ‘Aliens and astronauts’ instead of ‘Noughts and crosses’ by placing the aliens and astronaut pictures in place. Enlarge and photocopy

as many aliens and astronauts as needed onto card. Colour and laminate to use as required for activities such as creating patterns or for picture graphs.

R.I.C. Publications ® – www.ricpublications.com.au Early years themes—ScienceSpace 55


Cheesy stars


• crackers/slice of bread

• cheese slices

• large or small star cookie cutters

• mayonnaise (optional)


• Use the star cookie cutter to cut shapes from cheese and

mount on crackers, if using very small cookie cutters, or onto

bread slice, if using a large cookie cutter. If placing large

shapes of cheese onto bread, use dots of mayonnaise around

the cheese star shape to create other stars in the sky.

Salt dough stars


• 2 cups fl our

• 1 cup salt

• yellow food colouring

• 1 cup water (less may be needed)

• star cookie cutters

• paint

• string or wool to hang


• Mix the fi rst three ingredients then add

the water a little at a time to assess the

‘wetness’ of dough. Roll the dough out fl at

and cut out star shapes using the cookie

cutters. Poke a hole in one point of the

star to allow it to be to hung. Air dry for

several days. Paint as desired. Allow to dry

thoroughly before displaying.

Moon sand


• 6 cups of play sand

• 3 cups of cornstarch

• 1½ cups of cold water


• Mix the water and cornstarch together thoroughly,

until it is smooth. Gradually mix in the sand, one

cup at a time. Work it in with the fi ngers. Store in

an airtight container. NOTE: Next time the moon

sand is required, revive with 2–3 tablespoons of

water. Sprinkle over and work in.

UFO breakfast


• ½ toasted muffi n/bread roll

• peanut butter*/creamed cheese

• banana, strawberries etc. sliced

• hard-boiled egg


• Toast the muffi n and spread with peanut

butter, creamed cheese or desired spread.

Place the egg in the centre so that it stand

upright. Surround with banana slices.

* Be aware of any children who may have allergies to peanuts.

Space satellites


• apples

• toothpicks

• marshmallows

• raisins


• Push toothpicks into the apple and place marshmallows and

raisins on the end of each toothpick to create space satellites.

56 Early years themes—ScienceSpace www.ricpublications.com.au – R.I.C. Publications ®


• slice of bread

• 1 tbspn butter

• small eggs


• ¼ cup sugar

• 2 egg yolks

• ½ cup salted butter

• 1 cup plain fl our

• 1 cup strawberry (or your favourite) jam

(traditionally, red bean paste is used)


• water

• green food colouring

• small packet cornfl our


• banana

• apple wedges

• lemon juice

• raisins

• popped popcorn


Space eggs


• Use a gingerbread man or star cookie cutter to cut a

shape from the middle of the slice of bread. Melt the

butter in a frypan. Place the slice of bread in the pan and

cook gently until just browned. Turn the bread and cook the other side. Break the egg into a

cup and pour into the cut-out shape of the bread. Cook for a few minutes until fi rm. Serve.

Moon cakes


• Preheat oven to 190 ºC/375 ºF. Combine butter, sugar and 1 egg yolk

and stir. Mix in fl our. Form dough into one large ball and wrap in plastic

wrap. Refrigerate for half an hour. Unwrap and form small balls in

palms of hands. Use thumb to make a depression in the centre of each

moon cake. Fill with approximately half a teaspoon of jam. Brush each

cake with the other beaten egg yolk and place on a baking sheet. Bake

approximately 20 minutes or until outside edges are slightly browned.

Alien slime

(Not suitable for children to make)


• Fill a large pot about three-quarters full with water. Bring to boil. Add green food colouring.

In a separate bowl, mix the packet of cornfl our with enough cold water to make a liquid.

Mix well then add to boiling water, stirring constantly. Mixture will thicken and clear to

create alien slime!

Banana rocket


• Cut the banana in half lengthwise and place on paper plate.

Use the apple wedges to make the bases/wings on each

side of the rocket and the raisins to make windows. Paint

lemon juice on the banana and apple to prevent it from

turning brown. Place popped popcorn at the base of the

rocket to make the blast cloud.

Other suggestions

• Cut apples across the middle to see the star arrangement of seeds.

• Slice and sample star fruit (carambola).

• Make jelly in star moulds.

• Place ready-made marzipan stars onto cupcakes or sweet biscuits.

• To create a snack for a junior astronaut, place dried fruit and/or strips of beef jerky in a Snaplock bag.

• Make asteroids by spreading rice cakes with peanut butter* and topping with blobs of jam or Rice Bubbles ® .

• Eat moon balls (Cheetos cheese balls).

• Mix powdered drink, such as Tang , with water in a Snaplock bag as an astronaut drink.

• Use a simple rock cake recipe to create moon rocks. Refer to for an example.

• Cover a peeled banana with peanut butter* and roll in coloured sprinkles or desiccated coconut.

* Be aware of any children who may have allergies to peanuts.

R.I.C. Publications ® – www.ricpublications.com.au Early years themes—ScienceSpace 57

Display ideas

Space corner

• Cut a number of large black rubbish bin liners down one side and across the bottom to make large fl at sheets. Hang them from

the ceiling of the classroom to block out the light in one corner. Hang stars, the moon and planets underneath. On the fl oor,

place large blocks and space activities such as space books to read or space puzzles to complete.

Moon buggy

• Cut the top and one side from a large packing box and,

if desired, paint the box silver. When dry, attach a wide

strip of cardboard to each side of the upturned box. (Keep

the open side free!) Attach one circular ice-cream lid (or

a cardboard circle) to both ends of the cardboard strips

to create wheels for the buggy. Tape or tie (through holes

punched in one side of the box) a straw or plastic broom,

to create an antenna. Cut a hole in one small end of a

tissue box and insert a small cardboard roll to create a

camera. Paint if required. Tape securely to the other side

of the packing box. Place a chair or two inside for the

‘astronauts’ to sit on. A table in front holds a large plastic

plate (steering wheel). Underneath the table, on the fl oor,

place two thick rectangular sponges for foot pedals.

Solar system

• Create a yellow cardboard sun, decorating it with curled, fringed or crumpled paper and suspend it from the ceiling. Crumple

eight large balls of newspaper which are then covered in aluminium foil to represent the planets. Suspend from the ceiling as

well, in their correct position relative to the sun. Label the planets and the sun.

A classroom of astronauts

• Make, or have the children draw, the body of an astronaut. Take digital photographs

of each child’s face and glue in position on the astronaut. Attach a plastic dome lid

(available for purchase from plastic supply houses) over the photograph. Ask the

children to decorate the astronaut’s suit with white paper squares and a national fl ag.

Attach all the astronauts to a large black-paper-covered display board. Add name labels

of each child in star shapes next to his/her astronaut.

Starry, starry sky

1. Use the bottom of plastic Coca Cola bottles and yellow paint to print stars on black or

dark blue paper or cardboard to create a starry background for a space display.

2. Dilute white paint with water, place in spray bottles and use to cover sheets of black

paper, card or a board.

Astronaut display

• Trace around the shape of a child to use as an astronaut. Have the children decorate the astronaut using paper skills. Add simple

sentence labels; for example, ‘I am an astronaut’, ‘This is my shirt’, ‘This is my helmet’, ‘This is my suit’.

Moon rocks

• Create moon rocks by mixing sand, fl our, glitter and water until it forms a stiff

dough. Place tiny space toys inside a handful and leave to dry on a tray for

about two days. Display in a group. Pull, or use small hammers to split apart at

the completion of the theme as a surprise for the children. Refer to for the method to create moon rocks.

Star class

• Ask each child to write his/her name inside a large star shape and dip the edges

in glitter. Display on a space background with the name of the class on a rocket

ship, space shuttle or alien spacecraft.

58 Early years themes—ScienceSpace www.ricpublications.com.au – R.I.C. Publications ®

Literature resources – 1

• There’s no place like space by Tish Rabe

• Time for bed by Mem Fox

• Aliens love underpants! by Claire Freedman


• The sun: Our nearest star (Let’s-read-and-fi nd-out) by Franklyn Mansfi eld Branley

• What makes day and night (Let’s-read-and-fi nd-out Science 2) by Franklyn Mansfi eld Branley

• The moon seems to change (Let’s-read-and-fi nd-out Science 2) by Franklyn Mansfi eld Branley

• What’s out there?: A book about space by Lynn Wilson

• I want to be an astronaut by Byron Barton

• The magic school bus lost in the solar system by Joanna Cole

• Bilby moon by Margaret Spurling

Songs, action rhymes, fingerplays and poems

Five brave astronauts

Five brave astronauts fl oated into space.

The fi rst one disappeared without a trace.

The second one somersaulted past the moon.

The third one entered the atmosphere too soon.

The fourth one took off counting down to zero.

The fi fth one landed safely like a hero.

Climb aboard the spaceship

(Tune: Incy Wincy Spider)

Climb aboard the spaceship

We’re going to the moon.

Hurry and get ready

We’re going to blast off soon!

Put on your helmet

And buckle up really tight

Here comes the countdown

Let’s count with all our might!

10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1-0 Blast off!

Star light, Star bright ...

(Traditional rhyme)

Twinkle, twinkle, little star ...

(Traditional rhyme)

Hey Diddle Diddle ...

(Traditional rhyme)

Four little stars

Four little stars winking at me

One shot off and then there were three.

Three little stars with nothing to do

One shot off and then there were two.

Two little stars afraid of the sun

One shot off and then there was one.

One little star alone, having no fun

It shot off and then there were none.

Zoom, zoom, zoom

Zoom, zoom, zoom

We’re going to the moon.

Zoom, zoom, zoom

We’re going to the moon.

If you’d like to take a trip

Climb aboard my rocket ship.

Zoom, zoom, zoom

We’re going to the moon.

5, 4, 3, 2, 1, Blast off!

R.I.C. Publications ® – www.ricpublications.com.au Early years themes—ScienceSpace 59

Literature resources – 2

Songs, action rhymes, fingerplays and poems

The solar system

(Tune: London Bridge)

The planets spin around the sun

Around the sun, around the sun.

The planets spin around the sun

We live on Earth.


The sun is found in the middle

In the middle, in the middle

The sun is found in the middle

It keeps us warm!

The stars are twinkling far away.

Far away, far away.

The stars are twinkling far away

Now make a wish.

The solar system

(Tune: The farmer in the dell)

The Earth turns around

The Earth turns around.

Once a day, every day.

The earth turns around.

The moon goes round the Earth.

The moon goes round the Earth.

Once a month, every month.

The moon goes round the Earth.

The Earth goes round the sun.

The Earth goes round the sun.

Once a year, every year.

The Earth goes round the sun.


(Tune: Where have you been, Billy Boy?)

Tell me, where have you been, astronaut, astronaut?

Tell me, where have you been in your rocket?

I have landed on the moon, and I may return there soon

With a space station that will help me dock it.

Tell me, what did you do astronaut, astronaut?

Tell me what did you do in your rocket?

I took pictures of the stars

And the craters found on Mars.

And I brought home some moon rocks in my pocket!

60 Early years themes—ScienceSpace www.ricpublications.com.au – R.I.C. Publications ®

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