We are aliens!

For thousands of years ancient civilisations from around the world have looked up at the stars and wondered; what is out there? With advancing technologies we have begun to explore our own tiny portion of this vast universe. Using giant telescopes, complex robots and even man led missions on the International Space Station; we continue the search for alien life in our galaxy and beyond.

Pupils will experience the stars in this thrilling Planetarium show as they discover how we search for signs of alien life in space. Then they can get hands-on in our astronaut challenge activity. 

Workshop details

In this museum-led session the pupils will watch We Are Aliens, a visually captivating show in our Planetarium, which explores the question: are we alone?

Pupils will discover how our existing understanding of life on earth guides the hunt for alien life elsewhere in the Universe. By exploring the unlikely places in which we find life on our own planet, (such as the deep ocean floor or in the Antarctic), scientists can provide clues for finding  life in other unexpected places like Mars, Jupiter’s moon’s or other exo-planets like our own.

After seeing what astronomers are looking for on other worlds, the pupils will think about what it would be like for them to travel into space.

Following the show the class will take part in a very important mission, lead by ground control (our education demonstrator): to design a spacesuit for their astronaut to wear. Using scientific lines of enquiry to problem solve, pupils will uncover the science behind how a spacesuit is made. They will learn about the importance of oxygen, water and gravity to preserve human life and will have to solve the problem of breathing, drinking and even going to the toilet in space! Pupils will have the opportunity to handle objects like those used by Tim Peake on his mission to the International Space Station, such as a Sokol flying suit and helmet.

Practical information for your visit

We need adult help to ensure the pupils have the best possible experience and to ensure the safety of the handling objects. For this reason you must bring at least two adults to this workshop.

Please arrive on time for your workshop or we may not be able to run it for you. Please share these notes with your adult helpers before your visit. This will help them to support your pupils have a successful and enjoyable day.

Image © Pete Carr

Curriculum links


  • describe the movement of the Earth, and other planets, relative to the Sun in the solar system
  • describe the movement of the Moon relative to the Earth
  • describe the Sun, Earth and Moon as approximately spherical bodies 
  • explain that unsupported objects fall towards the Earth because of the force of gravity acting between the Earth and the falling object
  • identify and compare the suitability of a variety of everyday materials, including wood, metal, plastic, glass, brick, rock, paper and cardboard for particular uses


  • the lives of significant individuals in the past who have contributed to national and international achievements


  • pupils should be taught to speak clearly and convey ideas confidently using Standard English. They should learn to justify ideas with reasons.

SMSC – Fundamental British Values

Through participating in this session students are encouraged to think about democracy, individual liberty and tolerance.

  • Individual liberty: Through the participative approach in the session individual liberty is promoted by enabling students to develop their self-knowledge, self-esteem and self-confidence. This also promotes mutual respect as children listen to and begin to respect each others contributions.
  • Mutual respect and tolerance: Learning about Galileo, early astronomers and the work they carried out promotes respect as pupils understand that we would not be where we are today without their work and contributions to science.

Learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding

Pupils will:

  • recognise and describe the environmental features key to supporting life, whether on Earth or another planet
  • learn about extremophiles and the unlikely places we find life on Earth; the Ocean floor, under the Earth’s crust and the Antarctic
  • gain insight into the role of space probes, what they do when they land on other planets, and how the information they collate assists us in our search for life elsewhere in the universe
  • discover how astronomers look for signs of oxygen in alien worlds
  • identify the key features of an astronaut’s space suit and describe what their functions are
  • understand the dangers living in space pose to the human body and how we use advances in technology to combat these dangers


Pupils will:

  • have the opportunity to draw on and share their existing knowledge whilst also being encouraged to absorb and recall new information assimilated throughout the session.
  • use straightforward scientific evidence to answer questions or to support their findings
  • improve their speaking and listening skills through team work
  • extend specialist vocabulary


Pupils will:

  • be introduced to the work of scientists and astronomers exploring space
  • learn that today’s knowledge of the universe and advances in space exploration can be traced back to the achievements of individuals and scientific teams of the past both within and beyond living memory
  • appreciate that objects displayed and worked with in the museum are to be treated with respect


Pupils will:

  • be confident in interpreting information about space missions
  • have developed respect and appreciation for the space related artefacts on display
  • see the museum as a resource for scientific research to help understand history
  • see the World Museum as an enjoyable and stimulating place to visit