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Curriculum - Special needs - Lesson plan - Over the moon

Encourage children to use their senses and pretend they are travelling into space before contributing to a class story

Encourage children to use their senses and pretend they are travelling into space before contributing to a class story

What the lesson is about

This literacy lesson uses sensory experiences to write a class story about a trip to the moon. It is suitable for children of all ages with multisensory impairments, profound and multiple learning difficulties and severe learning difficulties.

Aims: pupils can

- retell a story, ordering events using story language;

- add description to a story framework;

- use language to imagine and recreate roles and experiences;

- extend their vocabulary and explore the meanings and sounds of new words.

Getting started

You will need chairs, ribbons, a torch, a picture of the moon, a parachute, balls, party poppers and a water spray. Set up your classroom with chairs in rows.

Explain that the class is going to help write a story about going to the moon and that first everyone has to imagine what it might feel like.

Ask pupils to climb into the "rocket" (sit in their chairs) and then use the ribbons to mime putting on their seatbelts. Take them through a countdown and blast off. Once in "space", they should look through the windows.

Use the torch to mimic the flashing of the stars and a picture of the moon to show the rocket's approach.

When they land on the moon, gently wave the parachute on the ground to simulate a soft landing. Then they should get out of the rocket and collect rock samples - the balls - before getting back in the rocket for the return journey.

On the way back, they encounter an asteriod shower. Use the party poppers to mimic the asteroids. Once they re-enter the atmosphere, use the water spray to illustrate the splashdown.

Then go through the journey again, this time stopping at each stage to ask how the pupils feel. What words can they add to the story? What do the stars look like? What does the surface of the moon feel like? Are they excited? Scared? Note their suggestions.

Use scaffolding such as, "I feel as excited as when I went to..." or "The stars were as bright as..." to encourage them to come up with ideas for description. You can split the pupils into smaller groups to each look at one part of the story, reporting back to the whole class.

Taking it further

Are there any other ideas in the story? For example, look for props to represent things they might find on the surface of the moon other than rocks.

Go through the story again using some of the pupils' ideas. Record it with a video camera or microphone so it can be listened to again or shared with other classes.

Where to find it

The moon story, along with other stories on the sea, birds and Japan was uploaded by MummyHen and can be found at

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