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What a wonderful sky!

To introduce the children to the International Year of Astronomy 2009 and to encourage their interest in the sky at night.

by Rebecca Parkinson

Suitable for Whole School (Pri)


To introduce the children to the International Year of Astronomy 2009 and to encourage their interest in the sky at night

Preparation and materials


  1. Show the children the clip from NASA. This is a beautiful, music-backed, time-lapsed, four-minute footage showing the sky in motion.
  2. Ask the children if they have ever stood outside at night in a place where it is very dark. Ask them to describe what it was like to look up at the night sky.

    If possible shut the blinds and put out the lights. Ask the children why it is that, once their eyes adjust to the light, they can still see things in the hall/classroom. Explain to the children that so often today it is hard to appreciate how amazing the night sky is because of all the lights that we are surrounded by. Ask them to name some of them: street lamps, car headlights, house lights.
  3. Show the children the clip of the night sky. Ask them if they have seen any of the constellations named in the clips.
  4. Ask the children how many stars they think there are in the sky. Astronomers say that the true answer to that question is that no one knows. There are just too many stars to ever be able to count them.

    Explain that this year is a special year for people who study the stars – astronomers. This year is the International Year of Astronomy. You may like to introduce the children to the website:

Time for reflection


Think about the night sky. Make a decision to take the time to gaze up at the sky at different points through this year. Remind yourself again that we live in a beautiful world.

(You may like to use the NASA clip to help the children reflect on the beauty of the sky.)


Dear God,

Thank you for the beauty all around us

but particularly today for the beauty of the sky.

Thank you for the sun that keeps us warm, gives us light and allows us to live.

Thank you for the moon that gives us light at night.

And thank you for the stars that fill the night sky with beauty and wonder. 



‘For the beauty of the earth’ (Come and Praise, 11)
‘My God is so big’

Publication date: April 2009   (Vol.11 No.4)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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