Up Our Solar System Orbits Asteroids & NEOs Redshift Life of a Star I Life of a Star II Solar System Models Galaxies? The Solar System Red-shift The Big Bang




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The Earth & Space





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The Earth & Space module reminds students about the basics covered at Key Stage 3, and then builds on this work.  Ideas about orbits are extended, using the solar system simulator below; students can investigate the elliptical orbits of asteroids and comets can be modelled simply, as well as binary and multi-star systems, slingshot orbits and more.






Simulation - Orbits





Thanks to PhET for this awesome simulation :)


Flash technology!




This simulation lets you investigate a wide range of orbital systems - and create your own!  Have fun :)



Click here to open the simulation in full screen mode

Try some of the presets to see the orbits of common objects in the solar system.

You can also try to create your own orbital systems.

Challenge: Try to set a moon in a retrograde orbit!






Applet credit: PheT.



Click below to load the simulation in full screen mode.  You can also set up standing waves by selecting fixed end or open end, and selecting appropriate frequencies.





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Use the Java version instead! :)






Laser ray boxes - fantastic for optics demos.



Students can undertake practical work, building simple Galilean and Keplerian telescopes and exploring ideas about telescope optics.  There are now some very affordable laser ray boxes which are great for illustrating these ideas.  Timstar do a great kit here (UK), or Arbor Scientific sell the same kit here (US).





Making telescopes is fun, using lens holders or cardboard tubes.




Galileo's observations of Jovian moons are considered, and Ptolemaic and Copernican models of the solar system are are examined.  Click the image below for a high resolution zoomable model of Ptolemy's geocentric (earth centred) model of the solar system.










Click the image to go to a high resolution zoomable version.



Stellar composition, spectroscopy, nuclear fusion and stellar lifecycles are covered in detail.  The work extends to cover the large scale structure of the universe, and evidence for the "big bang" theory of the universe.  A fun practical task, calculating Hubble's constant for a one dimensional elastic universe, illustrates these ideas nicely; an activity sheet for this can be found on the "redshift" page.

Visit the lesson pages to find loads of simulations, animations, videos, worksheets, and more!