Pupils took one small step into the classroom when pieces of the Earth's moon landed at their school.

Moon dust and space rocks on loan from NASA arrived at Cromer Road Primary as pupils took part in a project that was out of this world.

Space expert and parent Clare Davy visited the school to speak about the samples on Friday, while a portable planetarium was set up in the sports hall with money from the school’s PTA.

Security and background checks had to be carried out on Doctor Davy and members of the school to ensure the rare exhibits would not go missing, while media coverage of the project was embargoed until today.

Despite being delayed in transit by last week’s snow and ice, the scientific specimens made it to the school early on Thursday. Wide-eyed pupils went in class by class to get a glimpse of the rocks.

Schoolchildren were given the chance to get up close to soil and rock samples gathered from the Moon by astronauts on the Apollo 17 mission (scroll down for video), as well as holding meteorites found around the world, including one that is older than the Earth itself.

Dr Davy, an ambassador for STEM, an organisation promoting science, technology, engineering and maths, organised the visit with the Science and Technology Facilities Council, which currently has the samples on loan from NASA.

She said: “To be able to put a meteorite in the pupils’ hands is a great starting point for conversations about space.

"They come up with questions and ideas you may never have thought of, so it is a two-way interaction."

Among the alien exhibits was the Nakhla meteorite, a piece of Mars that was thrown into space by the impact of a larger meteor and landed in Egypt in 1911.

The Parnallee meteorite, which fell on India in 1857, was one of the highlights of the display as radiation tests date it back 4.5billion years - older than the planet Earth.

The special event was organised as part of the school's 80th anniversary celebrations, taking place this year.

Pupils aged between four and 11 took part in two days of lessons and projects across the curriculum with space exploration at the heart of the subjects.

Dr Davy said: “Space is going to be a part of their future, whether it is mining asteroids or sending colonies into space. If you catch children early you can show them it is worth getting to grips with.

“To come out and share this with young people is fantastic. They have all been really engaged by the projects and have shown an interest in taking it forward to learn more about it.”

Video of Apollo 17 astronauts collecting some of the orange soil that was among samples at Cromer Road Primary School.