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Why Beyond The Pencil?

This pencil stands in Alvaston Park, Derby as part of the Alvaston Park Science Garden.  The pencil represents the rotational axis of the Sun which lies at the centre of a scale distance model of the Inner Solar System.  It also provides a challenge on sunny days. Nearby, is a shorter pencil top that is one metre tall.  By striding out the shadow of this and then comparing it with the shadow of the giant pencil, you can estimate how tall it is.


The Sun is represted by the mosaic circle around the pencil.  This was designed and created by pupils at Lakeside Community Primary School. It depicts the history of flight, from stories of Icarus through to modern day space travel.  It also displays the thirteen zodiac constellations. If you imagine walking around Earth's equator drawing a line in the sky, say with a giant pencil, that line will go through each one of the zodiac constellations.  The planets, sun and moon are always found close to this line.


The Alvaston Park Science Garden was the brainchild of Founder and Director of Beyond The Pencil, Katie Smith. Katie secured close to £50, 000 of funding from the Big Lottery Community Spaces funding and led the six year project from start to finish on a completely voluntary basis. Katie has a degree in Astrophysics, is a qualified teacher and has several years experience of planetarium and science show presentation and production both in the UK and in the USA.  She has performed at the British Science Festival, the Bloomsbury Festival and has done freelance work for organisations including the BBC.  


Beyond The Pencil continues to support the brilliant volunteers at Alvaston Park Friends and the work that they do.  Please visit their website:


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