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Katie Barrett

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Book status: The book for this planning sequence is currently reprinting or out of print and therefore not in stock at most booksellers. If you do not already own the book, we would recommend this planning sequence as an alternative:

Alternative sequence

A Spelling Seed for Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover


KS: Upper KS2

Year Group: Year 5

Literary Theme: Mystery & Truth

Author(s): Markus Motum


This is a three-session spelling seed for the book Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover by Markus Motum.  Below is the coverage from Appendix 1 of the National Curriculum 2014.

Spelling Seeds have been designed to complement Writing Roots by providing weekly, contextualised sequences of sessions for the teaching of spelling that include open-ended investigations and opportunities to practise and apply within meaningful and purposeful contexts, linked (where relevant) to other areas of the curriculum and a suggestion of how to extend the investigation into home learning.

There is a Spelling Seed session for every week of the associated Writing Root.


Word List Words

communicate, curiosity. environment, existence, system, temperature, vehicle

Spelling Rules and Patterns

Words ending in -able/-ible

Words with ‘silent’ letters

A Writing Root is available for Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover.

Writing Root Overview:


Proposal to NASA, information labels, short explanation, NASA log of Mars landing, news report

Main Outcome:

Expanded explanation for a new rover


15 sessions, 3 weeks

Overview and Outcomes:

This is a three-week Writing Root for Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover by Markus Motum. It explores the themes of exploration and discovery and what it means to be curious. Children will follow the journey of the NASA rover Curiosity as it makes its way to Mars. Children will write labels to explain Curiosity’s features before exploring how to use cohesive devices to expand and explain. They will use the passive voice to log the rover’s landing on Mars and write a short news report to be broadcast to Times Square. Finally, children will draw together their learning to design a new rover and write an expanded explanation to propose it as the future of NASA exploration.

Synopsis of Text:

Discover the incredible story of the search for life on Mars, told from the unique perspective of Curiosity, the Mars Rover sent to explore the red planet. Markus Motum's stylish illustrations and diagrams reveal how a robot travelled 350,000,000 miles to explore a planet where no human has been before.

Text rationale:

This eye-catching picture book will teach children about a significant moment in the history of space exploration and provides obvious links to the science and DT curriculums.  Told from the perspective of the beloved little spacecraft, the fact-filled and richly illustrated text will help children understand the power of imagination and what it means to be curious. Diagrams, timelines and technical vocabulary are woven throughout, expanding children’s ability to engage with the non-fiction genre.  

Links and themes:

Mars, space, curiosity, exploration, robotics, discovery

Date written: March 2020

View Curiosity: The Story of a Mars Rover Writing Root

Literary Leaves within the same Literary Theme

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