Earth and Space

The shape of the Earth

Teaching Guidance for 5-11 Supporting Physics Teaching

Living on a large sphere

Wrong Track: The Earth looks pretty flat to me.

Wrong Track: If the Earth is a sphere, why don't people underneath drop off?

Right Lines: The earth is a large sphere. Being pulled down is different for different continents. The pull is always to the centre of the Earth. This is due to gravity.

Flat and round

Thinking about the learning

Children generally like to believe adults and so it is not uncommon for them to amalgamate their flat Earth model with adults' spherical Earth model. Here are some ways in which they retain a flat Earth model and still build in roundness.

Common unhelpful ideas about the Earth

Thinking about the teaching

You'll need to explore the idea that the Earth is spherical explicitly, drawing on the children's ideas to challenge and develop theier views.

is a type of Satellite

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