21 kids participated in “Build Your Own Planetarium” workshop which was held for a week in Cute Cottage, a preschool in Taman Berkeley, Klang.  The workshop was conducted through TaleSpace and supported by the GraceCommunityService. TaleSpace is a newly established educational social enterprise, founded by Veena Puarr. GraceCommunityService is a non-profit, charitable organisation with the primary objectives of generating community care and supporting and encouraging volunteerism among the local society. 

The workshop was targeted to a group of participants aged 6 - 11. The primary goals of the workshop were to introduce the basic principles of astronomy, the structure of solar system, extra-terrestrial life and radio astronomy. The topics were chosen to shape the one-week workshop as fun and educational as possible. 

First Day

The kids participated in few ice-breaking activities in order to get comfortable with the instructor. The activities were followed by a mini quiz on Astronomy for the instructor to identify the educational background of the kids. The instructor briefly explained  the studies of celestial bodies and structure of the solar system. Photographs of the planets were used to aid the kids to visualise the planets and the moons. Then “Stellarium”, a planetarium software was introduced to the kids to explain the movement of the celestial bodies. The kids were excited to verify the accuracy of the software by observing the sky later in the evening on that day. Another planetarium software, Celestia was used to give the kids a better idea on the general structure of the solar system. The software proved to be a very useful tool for the kids to understand the day/night phenomenon and the orbital movement the planets.   

Using Celestia to visualise solar systemPlanets

Second Day  

Models of the planets were made using styrofoam boards. They were cut according to the relative size of the planets to aid the understanding of the kids. The kids were required to colour the model planets using the photographs as reference. The activity enabled the kids to make use of their abstract conceptualisation about the planets and experiment their understanding via painting.  

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Third Day

We tried to answer one of the most captivating and interesting question in the scientific world. How do aliens look like? If they exist.. The instructor explained the environmental factors which make Earth habitable and how specific environmental conditions on an extra-terrestrial planet would influence the physical design of an alien. “Design Your Alien” booklet from EU Universe Awareness was used as a guideline to conduct the activity of the day.  Then the kids designed their own aliens based on the extra-terrestrial planet designated to them. Gravity and atmosphere were the two most significant factors which influenced their alien designs.13320508 1738469666376103 85386918205865207 o

Fourth Day

The kids were invited to a completely new world, The Invisible World via the introduction of Radio Astronomy and Electromagnetic Spectrum. The technical part of the spectrum was not explained in detail because of the educational background of the kids and their focus level. So the practical uses of the invisible and visible light in daily lives were explored. “The Invisible Universe” booklet from UN Universe Awareness was utilised during the activity. The kids created their own radio images and at the end of the day they managed to create their own radio telescopes.   




Fifth Day - Exhibition Day

The model planets, radio telescopes and alien designs were displayed in the lobby of the pre-school for parent’s view. The kids were assigned to each section of the “planetarium” to explain about their work to the parents. Towards the end of the day the kids were given certificates for participating in the programme. The instructor explained the main objectives of the workshop to the parents and held a short Q&A session to finish off the workshop.  

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    About Me

    I am passionate about astronomy education in Malaysia. I am not a frequent stargazer, though I like the sight of Venus. However I would to contribute in increasing astronomy knowledge literacy as part of science literacy because of the universality nature of astronomy nature and science. I believe the sky unites people.