Earth and Space

Two kinds of spinning around

Teaching Guidance for 5-11 11-14 Supporting Physics Teaching

Rotating and orbiting

When describing the motion of the Earth, be very careful to distinguish between:

  • The spin or rotation of the Earth, on its own axis.
  • The orbiting of the Earth around the Sun.

Pupils tend to confuse these terms and may talk about the Earth spinning around the Sun once in a year. You will need to emphasise the difference in meaning of spin and orbit in your teaching.

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Teacher Tip: Are we looking at spinning or orbiting here?

is a type of Satellite
IOP DOMAINS Physics CPD programme

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