“Wilbur Barnes! For a 12 year old boy you do like to bite off more than you are capable of chewing.”
“But Miss Stricto, I’m very interested in astronomy.”
“Well, you’ve chosen your assignment and you’ll have to stick to it. And don’t try to copy and paste from the internet or copy material out of books, as our Safe-assign Software will soon detect any plagiarism. And that goes for the rest of the class too! Do you all understand me?”
“Yes, Miss Stricto,” came the muffled replies.
“Very well. Now you have two weeks to complete the research on your chosen topics. Class dismissed.”
With a glum look on his face, Wilbur went off home kicking his heels. He soon realised that despite his great enthusiasm for astronomy, he had definitely overstretched himself in choosing to write about different star types. But his teacher, Miss Stricto, would not let him change his topic now.
“Why the miserable look on your face, Wilbur?” his father asked him as the family were seated around the dinner table.
“Have you been causing trouble with Miss Stricto again?” his mother asked.
“He’s been too ambitious with his choice of projects and Miss Stricto won’t let him change to something simpler,” his sister Cathleen giggled.
“Oh shut up Cathleen!” Wilbur burst out.
“You know Mum, everyone at school calls him a fantasist and a dreamboat,” continued Cathleen.
“And everyone calls you ‘skinny freak,’” retorted her brother.
“Enough you two!” hollered Mr. Barnes.
“Look, Wilbur,” began his mother, “what exactly is the problem?”
“Miss Stricto won’t let me change my topic assignment.”
“And why do you want to change it?”
“Because he discovered that it was too difficult for him,” interjected his sister.
“I’ll explain to mum, not you, you numbskull.”
“That’s quite enough fighting, you two,” came the authoritative voice of their father.
“Now tell me,” said Mrs. Barnes, “why won’t Miss Stricto let you change your topic?”
“She said that I have to learn to stick with a topic once I’ve chosen it,” said Wilbur rather ashamedly.
“Well, I agree with Miss Stricto. You can’t keep chopping and changing on whim.”
“Now what exactly is your chosen topic Wilbur?” Mr. Barnes asked.
“It’s about the different types of stars in the Universe and about how they are born and how they die.”
His father gave out a whistle, the kind that usually denotes astonishment. His mother folded her arms, sat back in her chair and rolled her eyes heavenwards. His sister Cathleen simply looked down towards the floor and let out a girlish giggle. Wilbur’s reaction was merely to support his head in his hands while his elbows rested on the table. Each member of the family maintained their respective poses for about one minute’s duration.
“Well, you certainly over-reached yourself this time, Wilbur,” said Mr. Barnes breaking the silence.
“And I don’t think he’ll ever get himself back again,” said Cathleen rather contemptuously.
At that, Wilbur suddenly rose from his chair, banged his fists on the table and said, “I’ll show you and I’ll show Miss Stricto that I can come up with the information and write an essay on it.” With that, Wilbur dashed out of the dining room and upstairs to his room.
“I’ll believe it when I see it,” his sister called after him.
1. ) Write a short essay of approximately 500 words about Earth's closest neighbour, the moon.
2. ) Find out as much as you can about Mars and write an essay of around 500 words about this planet.
3. ) What do you know about Jupiter? Get as much information as you can about this giant planet and write an essay about it in approximately 500 words.
Use a variety of sources to obtain your information – books, internet, astronomy magazines, TV programmes and science journals.
An Unexpected Visitor.
For about half an hour, Wilbur sat on the side of his bed and thought and thought about how he would tackle this tough assignment. He then crawled into bed and fell asleep while mulling over this project he now felt he had foolishly undertaken.
It would have been about an hour later that he awoke. He did not know why he awoke as he usually slept right through until morning. As he rolled over and tried to get back to sleep again, he heard a strange voice say a rather strange thing.
“O be a fine girl kiss me right now sweetheart.” Wilbur sat up in bed with a start! He looked around the room but could see no-one. He tried to get back to sleep again but the same voice uttered the same weird words – “O be a fine girl kiss me right now sweetheart.”
“I’ll bet that’s Cathleen up to her tricks again,” said Wilbur as he furiously jumped out of bed. “I’ll go through to her room and sort her out!”
“Leave Cathleen to sleep,” the mysterious voice commanded him. Wilbur wheeled round to face the other end of his room. Standing next to the window was a sight Wilbur had never seen before. There in front of him was a six foot tall silvery transparent figure glistening and glowing in the moonlight. Wilbur froze to the spot speechless.
“Don’t be afraid, Wilbur, I mean you no harm.”
At last Wilbur found his voice: “who are you? And what do you want?”
“To help you, Wilbur.”
“O be a fine girl kiss me right now sweetheart. Whoever you are, I’m neither a fine nor an 'unfine' girl. In fact, I’m not a girl at all. And I’m not a gay so I don’t want to kiss you or be kissed by you.”
“Wilbur! You have so much to learn. This is mnemonic for remembering the types of stars in the Universe. Astronomers classify the star types as O B A F G K M R N S.”
Wilbur stood agape. His mind began to connect this mysterious being to the tough assignment he had to do.
“My name is Stellarman and I know about your assignment,” continued the unexpected visitor.
“But….uh…. how do you know?” Wilbur stammered.
“The Universe is full of Miss Strictos, Wilbur.”
“Oh! So you know about Miss Stricto?”
“I know about many Miss Strictos, and of course I know about your Miss Stricto.”
“Wow!” exclaimed Wilbur.
“And, Wilbur, I know exactly how to deal with the Miss Strictos of this Universe.”
“Really?” responded Wilbur, a massive almost semi-malicious smile invading the innocence of his chubby boyish countenance. “But there must be millions or billions of Miss Strictos. How can you deal with them all?”
“I can’t. The Celestial Council of Galactic Wanderers draws out a Miss Stricto by lot. You were the lucky winner, Wilbur.”
“And how exactly are you going to help me, Stellarman?”
“I’m going to take you on a trip around the galaxy and show you the different types of stars.”
“Do you have a spacecraft then?”
“No Wilbur, I don’t.”
“Then how can we journey around the galaxy without a spacecraft?”
“We will travel through the space-time curvatures of the Universe.”
“How shall I breathe and how shall I survive the deadly radiation in space?”
“You will be protected within the curvatures, Wilbur. Have no fear. All you need are your pen and notebook. Are you ready?”
“Yes, but just one more thing.”
“By the time I get back to Earth, my parents and sister will be very old – maybe even dead. You know, I eh mean, relativity and all that.”
Stellarman laughed and told Wilbur that while time would advance through one kind of Wormhole, it would regress through another.
“All right, I’m ready, let’s go,” said Wilbur enthusiastically.