Home » Teaching Resources » Day and Night

Day and Night


What causes day and night?

Key Stage 3, Science

Prior Learning

At Key Stage 2 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

Lesson plan


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 Body

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:
Lamp or torch
Light sensor (optional)

Day and night worksheet containing a copy and complete exercise.

Day and night worksheet answers


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

Heads and tails worksheet and answers

Web page reproduced with the kind permission of the Met Office.

Start exploring

Latest from blog

Related resources …

Secondary Geography, Secondary Science
In this section you will find a step-by-step guide to climate change. The information is written by climate experts using known facts and the
Secondary Science
Satellites provide a huge variety of information. They carry instruments that relay telecommunications signals (telephone messages, TV pictures, emergency messages from ships and aircraft…
Secondary Science
A series of downloadable lesson plans and teacher’s notes for science GCSE based on using the Gravity field and steady state Ocean Circulation Explorer