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Prior Learning

At Key Stage Two students will have considered the evidence for the sun, Earth and moon being spherical. They should be familiar with using models to show their relative sizes.


By the end of the lesson:

  • All students will know that day and night are caused by the Earth's rotation not by the sun moving

  • Most students will know that night is caused by the Earth casting a shadow

  • Some students will know that temperature falls at night when we don't get warmth from the sun


The true and false exercise could be done in two teams, alternating who answers and noting points for correct answers, or as individuals. Alternatively, paper based student sheet version could be done individually, or in pairs, and stuck into book.

Lesson resources

  • Day and night starter slideshow 

  • Student sheet containing true and false questions relating to slideshow

Main Activity

Do classic demo of half the Earth in light and half in shade to show day and night and show animation of same setup. Use the worksheet to record into exercise books.

Discuss temperature variation for day and night. If possible use light sensor to compare the difference between light and shadow, and discuss. (If your light source produces enough heat you may be able to use a sensitive temperature sensor if the distances are short enough)

You will need:

  • Football

  • Lamp or torch

  • Light sensor (optional)

  • Day and Night animation

  • Day and night worksheet - copy and complete 

  • Day and night worksheet - cut and stick

  • Day and night worksheet answers 


Using heads and tails worksheet exercise, get the students to complete the sentences.

  • Heads and tails worksheet 

All resources produced and provided by the Met Office