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The stars come out to play for International Day of Planetaria

Donna Coutts, March 5, 2017 7:45PM Herald Sun

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reading level orange

Reading level: orange

THERE are at least three tricky things about star gazing: getting up in the middle of the night, waiting for a cloudless sky and, if you live in a town or city, getting away from all the light in our urban* environment so the stars are visible.

The other less-than-ideal thing about night-time star gazing is that no will see your best space dress-up outfit.

All those things that make it tricky are a shame, because looking at stars is amazing!

Luckily for us, the Scienceworks Planetarium has taken care of all those worries. You can study the stars at any time of the day and in any weather at the Planetarium.

A planetarium is a domed building that has stars and planets projected on the inside of the dome so you can see what the sky looks like if it was the middle of the night and the middle of nowhere.

The Planetarium is a permanent exhibition at Scienceworks, but Sunday March 12 is International Day of Planetaria*, so there are lots of fun things going on that day, including special shows and entertainment.

International Day of Planetaria media_cameraGenevieve, 5, dresses up in space gear. Picture: Mark Wilson

The most exciting thing about the day for space experts young and old will be the chance to dress up in your favourite astro-themed outfit for the day while you sit back inside the Planterium and view the 16m domed ceiling. Everyone will be doing it. So open the dress-up box or the craft cupboard and magic up your best Luke Skywalker, Doctor Who, astronaut or alien outfit. There will be an Instagram dress-up competition to enter for the chance to win a prize.

The International Day of Planetaria on March 12 is a joint celebration day for all the planetaria around the world. There are hundreds! Germany had the world’s first planetarium, the Wonder of Jena, which was launched in 1925 after trials beginning in 1923. The ancient Egyptians painted the sky and stars as early as 1500BC and there have been many versions of planetaria through history.

Planetarium shows at Scienceworks are followed by a live presentation of the current night sky and the major astronomical* objects that can be seen. The information presented in these sessions allows anyone to go into their backyard at night and experience the joy of astronomy. Tickets are available at the door or by visiting the Scienceworks website.

Scienceworks Museum, 2 Booker St, Spotswood, is open 10am-4pm. Visit


urban: in towns and cities

planetaria: planetaria is the plural, for when you are talking about more than one planetarium

astronomical: relating to stars and planets



Activity 1: Comprehension

1. What are the benefits of stargazing at a planetarium instead of out in nature?

2. Write a sentence explaining the details of the event this article is about.

3. Choose 3 interesting nouns from the article and draw a sketch of each of them.

4. Can you visit the planetarium at Scienceworks on any day or just on March 12th? What is the key word in the article that tells you the answer?

Extension: Create an advertising flyer for the International Day of Planetaria event.

Time: allow about 20 minutes to complete this task

Curriculum links: English

Activity 2: Design your costume

Create a collage of the costume you would wear if you were lucky enough to visit Scienceworks on the International Day of Planetaria. You should use at least 3 different types of craft materials in your collage and it needs to suit the theme of the day. Make it as wild and wacky as you like!

Extension: Write a one paragraph description of your costume, making it as vivid as you can. It should include at least 5 great adjectives.

Extra Resources : Collage materials such as coloured and metallic papers, cellophane, foil, magazines and news papers, pipe cleaners, buttons, etc. and a range of drawing materials.

Time: allow about 45 minutes to complete this task

Curriculum links: English, Visual Arts

VCOP Activity

(Vocabulary, Connectives, Openers, Punctuation)

Imagine walking into the planetarium and learning a secret. Not only can you look up and star gaze, but you can also actually travel to a new planet! Write a narrative that begins with you visiting the planetarium and then your journey to a new world! Challenge yourself to include the words listed in the glossary from the article.

Time: allow about 40 minutes to complete this task

Curriculum links: English, Big Write, VCOP







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