Making space-themed pop-up books

Over the past few months pupils at Goodlyburn Primary School in Perth and Kinross have been working on an exciting classroom project which has brought together literacy, art and science.  The project was developed by our Teacher Champion Amanda Rawlings as a companion to our forthcoming Authors Live event with Lucy Hawking. The project was broken down in to three key areas:

1. Reading Lucy Hawking’s books as a class

reading as a class


We started reading the first of Lucy Hawking's books, George’s Secret Key to the Universe, as a class. Pupils enjoyed the facts that were in the book and discussed the things they already knew along with the new facts they had learnt. We loved the introduction of Dr Reeper as the book's villain and the comical appearance of an astronaut who saves George from the bullies. The pictures are great in the book which would prove inspiring for the next step of our project…

2. Writing stories inspired by space & making pop-up books

developing stories
developing stories

The pupils began writing stories for the pop-up books they’d been asked to make. We decided to break the books up into pages because they needed to be quite simple as we planned to share them with P2 pupils.

The pop-up books were fictional but we also wanted to do a non-fiction space book created using the computer. Our pop-up books were hand drawn and written.

We wanted to learn some new pop-up techniques to use in our books. We discussed having a sliding mechanism for the rocket to look like it is moving, as well as adding flaps with information on them and other pop up elements that we already knew how to use.  We used a pop-up mechanism book that was sent to us by Scottish Book Trust for ideas. 

creating pop-up mechanisms
creating pop-up mechanisms


Pupils started to create their pop-up books using paper first, this was a trial run to make sure they were happy with it and could see if any improvements or changes needed to be made. Everyone worked together to help one another to make sure everything worked well.

3. Sharing the pop-up books with P2

The finished books were shared with P2 pupils, a great way to work across year groups and build confidence in older readers.

Other plans for building on the project:

Non-fiction books about space created using the computer
Brainstorming space words together
writing space poetry


Writing space poetry

We brainstormed all the words we could to do with Space and began writing poems. Some poems were linked to chocolate bars and others linked it to George’s adventure especially Eric escaping the Black Hole. Ryan's poem on space sweets was particularly brilliant!

Ryan's space poem


Creating non-fiction texts using IT

The children used the Paint and Word programmes on the computer to produce a factual book to read to the P2 class.

Dramatising one of Lucy Hawking’s novels

We have thought about the potential for dramatizing one of Lucy’s George novels as a way of expanding our creative writing whilst bringing in some expressive arts.

Visiting the mobile planetarium at Glasgow Science Centre

Another way to build on the project would be to visit the mobile planetarium. They also have an IMAX screen showing various educational films such as Space Station 3D and Hubble 3D.


If you would like to run a project similar to Amanda's start by watching Authors Live: Lucy Hawking,The event lasts 40 minutes and is suitable for P4-7. You can also download our free accompanying learning resources for more ideas on how to take inspiration from Lucy's novels in your classroom.

Amanda Rawlings

Amanda Rawlings is a class teacher at Goodlyburn Primary School in Perth and Kinross. She took part in our Authors Live Teacher Champions Programme in 2014.