Some students observe the Sun moving up and down and this explains why it gets dark at night and light during the day

Earth and Space


Students can use a variety of incorrect constructs to explain the relative movement of moon/sun/earth. For example, students might say "the Sun goes down and the moon comes up at night".

Diagnostic Resources

The following worksheets may help to identify whether students hold this particular misconception and start to address it.

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

Resources to address this

  • Why do we get day and night? (5-11) & (11-14)

    Earth is spinning on its axis in front of the Sun, once every 24 hours. According to this view, day-time comes when your side of the Earth is facing towards the Sun and night-time when it faces away from the Sun. 

    View Resource


  • Osborne, J. et al., () The Earth in space: Primary space project research report, Liverpool University Press, Liverpool.

    Paper 1 and Paper 2

  • Sharp, J. G., () 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

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