Heliocentric Model of the Solar System
Earth and Space

A concept map for Earth and space

Classroom Activity for 11-14 Supporting Physics Teaching

What the Activity is for

You might use a concept map for both formative and summative assessment purposes. At the start of the lessons on Earth and space it can be used to gather information about pupils' existing ideas. At the end it can be used as a means for the pupils to recall and pull together all the ideas that they have learned.

Concept mapping is best carried out as a collaborative activity in small groups of 3 or 4, thereby giving the pupils an opportunity to talk through the ideas and engage in scientific reasoning. As the activity is well-structured with a definite outcome (the concept map itself), it contains the essential ingredients for small group discussion.

What to Prepare

  • copies of the support sheet: A concept map for Earth and space (see below)
  • scissors
  • A3 paper
  • glue sticks

What Happens During this Activity

If you are using it at the beginning of a topic, tell the pupils that this activity offers an opportunity to recall what they already know and how their ideas are related. If you are doing it at the end of the topic, tell them that they have covered a lot of ideas and now it is important to see how those ideas are related.

Organise the pupils into groups of three or four. Distribute the starter sheet with concepts to be linked on it. Give out one sheet of poster paper, glue stick and scissors per group. Tell each group to cut up or produce the concept cards.

Show the class that the idea is to put together those concepts which are linked in some way. Illustrate this by showing that you might put Sun and Star close together on the map with the link words is a.

Tell the class to lay out the cards first of all and to talk through how they might be organised. When they are happy with their layout, then they can stick them down. The concepts should then be joined with a thick line on which the link should be written.

When they have finished, the class should be given a few minutes to look at another group's map. What are the differences? Are there any points of disagreement? Any points that seem incorrect?

While they are constructing the concept map, you should move around to see what is causing difficulties and assist groups as appropriate.


Download the support sheet / student worksheet for this activity.

Limit Less Campaign

Support our manifesto for change

The IOP wants to support young people to fulfil their potential by doing physics. Please sign the manifesto today so that we can show our politicians there is widespread support for improving equity and inclusion across the education sector.

Sign today