Some students deduce that the Earth must go around the Sun each day

Earth and Space


They might use this as an explanation as to why it gets dark at night.

Diagnostic Resources

The following worksheets may help to identify whether students hold this particular misconception.

For more information, see the University of York BEST website.

Resources to address this

  • Why do we get day and night? (5-11)

    This resource explores and addresses possible ideas for day and night students may hold.

    View Resource
  • Day and night: how do we know? (11-14)

    Although the Earth spinning explanation is relatively straightforward, justifying it is not so simple. The common-sense notion is that it is the Sun that moves. After all, we do not appear to be moving and if we jump up we land on the same spot on the Earth's surface.

    View Resource


  • Dunlop, J., () How children observe the universe, Publications of the Astronomical Society of Australia, 200 (17) 194-206.

    Paper digest

  • Frede, V., () Pre-service elementary teacher’s conceptions about astronomy, Advances in Space Research, 38, 2237–2246.

    Paper digest

  • Baxter, J., () Children's understanding of familiar astronomical events, International Journal of Science Education, 11 (5) 502-513.

    Key paper digest

  • G. Sharp, J., () Children's astronomical beliefs: a preliminary study of Year 6 children in south‐west England, International Journal of Science Education, 18 (6) 685-712.

    Key paper digest

  • Slater, E. V., Morris, J. E. & McKinnon, D., () Astronomy alternative conceptions in preadolescent students in Western Australia, International Journal of Science Education, 40 (17) 2158-2180.

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