Earth and Space

Opening up discussion: astronomy

Classroom Activity for 11-14 Supporting Physics Teaching

What the Activity is for

This activity offers the means for probing pupils' knowledge and understanding of Earth in space at the start of teaching. The materials can be used in a variety of ways: as an individual homework activity, small group work, or whole class discussion.

What to Prepare

Copies of these support sheets (see below):

  • Ideas in astronomy
  • Astronaut on the Moon
  • Astronomy survey

What Happens During this Activity

One possible way to run the activity in small groups is as follows:

Organise the pupils into groups of three. Hand out to each group a copy of one of the support sheets. There are three possible roles for the pupils:

  1. Talker – decides which statement they think is true or false and explains why.
  2. Listener – asks questions of the talker.
  3. Recorder – records the decisions and explanations on the sheet or in a notebook.

Allow 3 minutes for each role, then ask the pupils to change roles. After they have each taken a turn in each role, ask them to spend another 4 minutes discussing the statements and see if they can come to agreement within their group.

Nominate one person from each group to be an envoy. Ask them to go to the next group to find out if they agree or differ. Allow 2 minutes for this.

Allow the envoys to return to their groups. Give them a couple of minutes to compare findings. Finish with a plenary discussion of the ideas, drawing out the correct scientific answers.

Probable Answers

Ideas in astronomy: F F F F F F F F T F F

Astronaut on the Moon: F T F F F

Astronomy survey: E B A C A

These can only be probable, because a number depend on location on the globe.


Download the support sheet / student worksheet for this activity.

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