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>> Back to SpecEd 2019 – Stage 3 – Out of this world

Teaching and learning activity attachments

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Attachment 3.1 – What would you weigh?




Weight chart

x 1
The moon
x 0.17
x 0.38
x 0.91
x 0.38
x 2.36
x 0.92
x 0.89
x 1.13
Outer space
x 0

Attachment 4.1 – The moon

  • A ‘moon’ is an object that orbits around another object (except stars).
  • Earth has one moon, although some scientists think that we might have originally had two.
  • The moon orbits the Earth.
  • The first person to set foot on the moon was Neil Armstrong, who landed there as part of the Apollo 11 mission from the United States of America.
  • The average distance of the moon from Earth is 384,403 kilometres.
  • Mercury and Venus are the only planets in our solar system that don’t have moons.
  • Saturn has 62 moons!
  • Our moon is the fifth largest moon in the solar system.
  • The surface of the moon is covered in craters made by comets and asteroids which have collided with the moon over a long time.
  • At night the moon gives us light, but the light does not come from the moon itself. The moon reflects the light from the sun.
  • Sometimes, the Earth reflects light onto the moon as well. This is why we can sometimes see the moon during the day. This is called ‘Earthshine’.
  • The moon takes almost 28 days to orbit around the Earth.
  • The orbit isn’t an exact circle but an oval, so sometimes the moon is closer to the Earth and sometimes it is further away.

Attachment 6.1 – Planet research

Team members:


Important questions:

  1. Size of the planet?
  2. Weight of the planet?
  3. Distance from the sun?
  4. Composition (gas, rock, ice)?
  5. What does it look like?
  6. Are there any moons? How many?
  7. How long does it take to rotate around the sun (length of a year)?
  8. How long does the planet take to rotate (length of a day)?
  9. When was the planet discovered?
  10. How did it get its name?

Text types used:

Other interesting facts:

Texts we used:

Attachment 10.1 – Balloon rockets

Aim: To create a rocket that will travel along a piece of string.

Equipment: Balloons, drinking straws, string, tape, scissors


  1. Find two objects of the same height that you can tie your string to. You might use chairs or hang the string up between two sides of the classroom.
  2. Tie one end of the string to one of the objects. Make sure it is securely fastened.
  3. Attach two pieces of tape to a STRAIGHT plastic drinking straw. Attach the pieces towards the middle of the straw about two centimetres apart.
  4. Thread the string through the straw.
  5. Tie the loose end of the string to your second object. Make sure that it is TIGHT.
  6. Blow up the balloon, but do not tie up the end.
  7. Hold onto the end so that the air doesn’t escape and use the two pieces of tape to secure the balloon to the straw.
  8. Move the straw and balloon to one end of the string and, once you are ready, let the air out!
  9. You can reinflate the balloon to conduct the experiment again and again.

Attachment 15.1 – Music as communication

There is some debate in scientific circles about whether language or music came first for humans. Charles Darwin believed that men and women communicated with music before they could talk. Others think that we used hand signals and body language before language.

It’s not just humans who can communicate with music. Birds sing to each other. Some monkeys can recognise different tones. Dogs respond to the changes in the tone we use in our voice. Whales ‘sing’ to each other as well.

Adults often use a mix of music and language to communicate with babies. Exaggerated melodies and rhythm repetitions can be used to try to communicate emotions with babies who do not understand words. Music can be used to communicate when people don’t share the same language.  

It can also be used to communicate across long distances. Many traditional cultures living in forest areas used drums to communicate with groups living a long distance away. When Europeans first explored and colonised some jungles around the world, they were surprised to find that the people they encountered already knew that they were coming. They had been warned via the talking drums.

All around the world, there are similarities in the music that is used to convey different emotions. Love songs have similar musical elements no matter where you are in the world. Lullabies are the same, as are songs made for dancing. Music can be used to communicate ideas and stories around the world.

  1. How can music be used to communicate?
  2. Do you think it is likely that music evolved before language?  Why or why not?
  3. What elements do you think would be included in a lullaby anywhere in the world?

Attachment 16.1 – Classifying register

The situation we are in can change the way in which we speak to one another. Work together to fill in the following table.
Appropriate situations
Inappropriate situations
How is it useful?
Which register did you prefer using during the activity? What could you do to get better at using the other registers? What would the consequences be of never learning how to talk in the formal register?

Attachment 17.1 – Talking versus social media

What are the similarities and differences between talking in person and chatting on social media?

two overlapping circles

Attachment 18.1 – Aliens!

Write down at least four different definitions of the word 'alien'.

Find 10 synonyms for the word ‘alien’ in the thesaurus.

Write four sentences, using the word 'alien' in different ways.

Attachment 19.1 – Cantina Band

‘Can you imagine several creatures in a future century finding some 1930s Benny Goodman swing band music in a time capsule or under a rock someplace — and how they might attempt to interpret it?’

George Lucas
Cantina band from Star Wars
Star Wars – Cantina Band

The piece of music called Cantina Band was written by John Williams in 1977.  The filmmaker, George Lucas, wanted to create a scene where creatures from the future tried to create their own version of famous jazz composer Benny Goodman’s music.  

When John Williams wrote the music, he tried to achieve this by making the music sound familiar to human ears, but still slightly different and unusual, like the musicians playing in the movie.

The song itself was played by some jazz musicians on the following instruments: trumpet, two saxophones, clarinet, piano, Caribbean steel drum, another drum, various percussion instruments and an ARP synthesiser for the bass.

To make the instruments sound more ‘alien’, the composer changed the sounds so that there wasn’t as much bass, and the sound was ‘thinned out’ with reverb.

  1. What was the idea behind the Cantina Band song?
  2. Name three instruments used in the recording.
  3. Why would you use swing music in a bar, like in the Cantina Band scene?

Attachment 22.1 – Alien encyclopedia


Planet of origin:






Communication method:



A hexagon
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