Planet Unknown

Age Range: 7 - 11
By: Sam Collins

Genre(s): Science Fiction

At the end of the 21st century mankind was facing global resource depletion. Space Rovers were sent out to find potential inhabitable planets...

Teaching Ideas and Resources:

English

  • Just show the opening text. Stop at 0:22 and ask children to predict what will happen in the story.
  • List the ways in which the film makes the robots appear like animals (zoomorphism). Why do you think the filmmaker decided to do that?
  • Describe the section where the meteoroids first hit the planet, from 02:45 - 03:44   How can you convey tension and panic in your writing? What kind of vocabulary and sentence constructions could you use?
  • Write some dialogue between the robots.
  • Write a report on the incident
  • Watch Wire Cutters and compare the two films. What are the similarities and differences?
  • Write a specification for a planet where the plants would grow. What would be needed?
  • Both of the robots look very worn, they have clearly visited lots of other planets before this one. Write the story of the robots’ visit to another planet.
  • Collect adjectives to describe the robots.
  • Stop the film at 2:23. How are the robots feeling?
  • Write definitions of asteroid and meteorite.What is the difference? This site has helpful information. Write definitions of asteroid and meteorite using the information on NASA’s site.
  • Watch the trailer. Which shots would you put in a trailer for the film and why?

Science

  • Study conditions on other planets in our solar system. Planets for kids is a good site to start.
  • Make an information leaflet detailing what a seed needs to grow.
  • Grow your own plants from seed. Try putting seeds in different locations. Which grows best? Why? How can you make sure it is a fair test?
  • Investigate how asteroids form with this activity.
  • The video mentions global resource depletion - what does that mean? Why might the planet be running out of resources at the end of the 21st century?
  • What clues are there in the film that the planet might be able to support life?
  • Can the children explain why the conditions for growth might be favourable after the meteorite strike?

Computing

  • Watch the trailer. Which scenes would you put in a trailer for the film and why?
  • Make a scratch game where the robots have to avoid the meteorites.

Design Technology

  • Investigate the different ways in which the robots move. What are advantages and disadvantages of using tracks and wheels? Which would you choose for a robot?
  • The robots and the equipment they use are branded with logos and trademarks from several different companies. Why do companies do this?
  • Robots have been used to explore the surfaces of the moon and mars. Find out about these robots and design your own. What features would you add?

Art

  • Make a storyboard of the film.
  • Make a picture of a robot designed to explore other planets.

Music

  • Consider the vocalisations of the robots. Why did the filmmaker choose those sounds? How would you make them sound? Turn the volume off and make your own sounds for the robots.

History

  • Research the history of robots in space and make a fact file about them.

PSHE

  • The robots have already visited other planets which have not been suitable for life, and are showing resilience and persistence by keeping doing with their search. When have you shown persistence in a difficult task? How did you do it?
  • What can we do to try and prevent the world running out of resources?

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