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The Earth: Our home

To help the children understand the historical impact of manís first landing on the Moon, and to help the children appreciate the beauty of Planet Earth.

by Janice Ross

Suitable for Key Stage 2

Aims

To help the children understand the historical impact of man’s first landing on the Moon, and to help the children appreciate the beauty of planet Earth.

Preparation and materials

Assembly

  1. Ask the children, who can remember what they were doing on this day one week ago? What about on this day one year ago?

    Explain that thousands of people remember what they were doing 40 years ago on a certain day in July. That day is 20 July. It is indelibly marked in their memories. What could have happened on that day?
  2. Listen to two quotations and ask if anyone can guess the event (use David Heal, Luxembourg and then Christopher Flournoy, USA , both from the BBC On This Day site - see above).

    If the children have still not been able to guess the event, read out the last line of the above quote: ‘He was never more proud of being an American than on the day our flag flew on the moon.’
  3. Show the audio/video clip of the launch of Apollo 11. It was estimated that 500 million people across the world watched the video broadcast of the moon landing, making this the largest audience that any transmission has had to this day.
  4. Read two further quotes from people who were seven years old at the time (JR, USA, followed by Mo, UK – from same site).
  5. But what about the memories from space, the memories of astronauts and cosmonauts as they looked back at planet earth from millions of miles in space? All were awestruck by the beauty of the earth. This is what they saw. Show Earth image on whiteboard.

    Children or teachers can be organized in advance to read the following quote by Edgar Mitchell: from ‘Suddenly, from behind the rim of the Moon, in long, slow motion moments of immense majesty’ to ‘It takes more than a moment to fully realize this is Earth … home.’

    And then the following quotes from spacequotations.com/orbit.html:

     ‘The Earth was absolutely round … I never knew what the word round meant until I saw Earth from space.’ (Alexei Leonov on his first spacewalk in 1985)

    ‘The colours are stunning’ to ‘ It’s breathtaking.’ (Willie McCool)

    ‘If somebody had said before the flight’ to ‘I cried.’ (Alan Shepard)

    ‘We came all this way to explore the moon, and the most important thing is that we discovered the earth.’(William Anders)

    ‘My view of our planet was a glimpse of divinity.’ (Edgar Mitchell)

    ‘What was most significant about the lunar voyage’ to ‘that they set eye on the earth.’ (Norman Cousins)

    ‘Now I know why I am here. Not for a closer look at the moon, but to look back at our home, the Earth.’ (Alfred Worden)
  6. (Optional) Listen to the Christmas message from space in 1968 where the astronauts read from Genesis 1.

Time for reflection

Reflection

Spend a few moments looking at planet Earth. Can you understand what the astronauts meant?
Reflect on the beauty of the Earth from space and all the things you appreciate about living here.

Prayer
Dear God,
Tonight, we will see the moon once again.

Thank you that you are the one who made it and who holds the planets and the stars in space.

Thank you that you are the God of creation.

Thank you for the beauty of the earth, and the skies, and the whole universe.
Amen.

Song/music

‘For the beauty of the earth’ (Come and Praise, 11)

Publication date: July 2009   (Vol.11 No.7)    Published by SPCK, London, UK.
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