Physics in Primary Schools: Earth & the solar system 
Physics in Primary Schools: Earth & the solar system
by University of Sheffield / Gillian Gehring
Video Lecture 10 of 10
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Views: 2,972
Date Added: December 17, 2009

Lecture Description

Earth and the Solar System

Solar System and beyond: Overview

A Walk through the Universe

Supports National Curriculum, Key Stages 1D, 3F, 5E

Suitable for years 4,5 and 6. The first sections might be suitable for year 3.

The time for whole session is about 45 minutes. This can be varied depending on the length of time allowed for children’s questions.

Outline of content

Primary aim:

* to develop children's understanding of the solar system and the wider universe, especially as regards sizes and distances of objects within and beyond the solar system

Secondary aims:

* to enhance children's knowledge of the planets of the solar system, particularly their ordering and relative sizes

* to develop the Copernican picture of the universe (i.e. we do not occupy a special place - the Earth is not the most important planet in the solar system, the Milky Way contains 100,000,000,000 stars broadly similar to the Sun, the Milky Way is only one of billions of similar galaxies, etc.)

* to give children a sense of the scale of the solar system and the Universe

* to provide examples of the finite speed of light and its use in understanding distances in astronomy

* to correct children's misconceptions regarding space and astronomy

Points to note:

* The story that accompanies the slides in the PowerPoint presentation is described in the script.

* Apparatus details are linked to from the relevant sections of the script (link to apparatus list)

* There is a list of useful facts that will help to answer children’s questions. (link to useful facts to know)

* No special safety precautions are needed.

Misconceptions – ie - points that are often misunderstood

* there is no gravity in space

* the Earth is the biggest planet in the solar system

* the stars are only just beyond the furthest planet

* stars and planets are essentially similar objects

Link to:

* Download PowerPoint Presentation

* Script to accompany PowerPoint presentation

* Apparatus List

* Useful facts to know

* Download Overview, Script, Apparatus List and Useful Facts as a combined Word document for ease of printing


Course Index

Course Description

This site is for physicists - to interest children in physics. The material covers topics suitable for use when visiting primary schools. A joint venture triggered by the Institute of Physics Women in Physics Group. Material is provided by a team from the University of Sheffield with EPSRC funding.


* to enthuse young children with the enjoyment and excitement of physics.

* to support the primary school teachers with the extensive Key Stage 1 and 2 science curricula involving numerous abstract concepts.


* Electricity

* Forces and Gravity

* Forces and Magnets

* Sound

* Solids

* Light

* Solids, Liquids and Gases

* Sunlight and Space Travel

* Forces and Springs

* Earth and Solar System

* Electricity Generation Part 1

* Electricity Generation Part 2

Young children love science and enjoy doing practical work, your scientific expertise will be greatly appreciated and the children will have lots of questions for you to answer. You may be surprised to find how much you enjoy it.

The Sheffield team: Professor Gillian Gehring, Professor David Mowbray, Dr Susan Cartwright, Dr Richard de Grijs, Dr David Lidzey, Ann Marks.


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