Some students think the highest point the Sun reaches in the sky does not change throughout the year

Earth and Space


To explore students' understanding of this area, children could be asked to add to a drawing to show the position of the Sun, firstly at midday in winter and then, at midday in summer.

Resources to address this

  • The apparent path of the Sun during the day (5-11)

    Simple direct observations show that the Sun rises in the east and sets in the west and that there is a difference in the height of the midday Sun between mid-summer and mid-winter. This information will (later) help with the explanation of the cause of the seasons. For now, it's useful for accounting for day and night.

    View Resource
  • Observing the motion of the Sun (11-16)

    Tracking the motion of the Sun through the sky for a day, month or year.

    Students should note the Sun's position at noon from month to month (take care if summertime is introduced). They should note the height of the Sun at noon at different times of the year. The Sun's path changes with the seasons: high in the sky in mid-summer and low in mid-winter.

    View Resource


  • Osborne, J., Wadsworth, P., Black, P. and Meadows, J., () The earth in space: Primary space project research report, Liverpool: Liverpool University Press.

    Paper 1 and Paper 1

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