How big is space?

Hull Libraries run a scheme every year over the summer holidays, aiming to get more children reading for pleasure. This year’s theme was SPACE! So we were honoured to be asked to launch their reading scheme with a day of planetarium shows on July 20th. It was also the 50th anniversary of the moon landings, so we delivered a full day of our planetarium show “One Giant Leap” which was extremely successful.

As a follow on to that we were honoured to be invited to give a talk at the reading scheme celebration event. The children who complete the reading scheme are invited to Hull City Hall for an afternoon of events.

We had to come up with a talk that would entertain children and adults from 5 years upwards on the subject of “space”, which is a really big subject!! So we decided to talk about “How big is space?”

The key to science communication is to make a subject understandable and enjoyable for your audience and that’s a challenge when your audience is so diverse. But we love a challenge!

We thoroughly enjoyed putting this show together! It was a little different to anything we’d done before! We’re used to talking about space under a dome of stars. Having stage lights pointed at us was a whole different experience.

Also performing on the day was the author of the Horrible Science books, Nick Arnold. Following Nick was a little daunting as he wowed the children with his experiments, stories and he had his own theme tune. *I need a theme tune*

And the compere for the event was actor Finley McGuigan, who did an amazing job of keeping everything running smoothly and storytelling!

Then it was my turn…

I started by looking at our own solar system and we worked out how far apart the planets are, using volunteers from the audience. We managed to fit the whole solar system in the City Hall auditorium but worked out that the next star would be at Buckingham Palace. I even had a volunteer to walk that far!

We then looked at the milky way and how our solar system is a tiny part of the galaxy.

I love the Hubble Deep Field image so I used this to illustrate the vastness of space even further. There are over 10,000 galaxies in this one image.

After the main event I had some meteorites to show the children, some of which were kindly loaned to me by author Stuart Atkinson. I also have a small collection, which includes tiny pieces of Mars and moon meteorites. The children were amazed that these were rocks that had fallen from space, as they held them in their hands.

Thanks for asking us to take part in your reading scheme this year Hull Libraries! We truly have had a blast!

We couldn’t take any photos ourselves of the event. All photos in the blog are taken by photographer Jerome Whittingham.

Have a great rest of your weekend!

Katie, Carol, Anita and Sarah

The Lab Rascals Team xx

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