Some students use the idea of light not travelling in straight lines to say that sunlight can strike the Earth from different directions

Earth and Space


For example, they might say that sunlight can strike more than one place on the surface of the Earth at a 90° angle at the same time or that the sunlight hits the Earth from different angles at different places - perhaps due to an idea that light may travel a curved or wavy path in random directions.

These ideas are represented below:

Diagram showing bent and random-path rays of light hitting the earth.

Resources to address this

  • Explaining the seasons (11-14)

    The model used in this activity consistently shows the rays of light arriving in straight lines and from the same direction.

    View Resource


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

    Paper digest

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