Physics KS3 / GCSE: How are chemical elements made?

Professor Brian Cox demonstrates how the chemical elements are made in the death throes of a dying star.

All 92 elements on Earth, including those that make up our bodies, were formed at the heart of a star.

Small stars like our Sun produce the lighter atoms through fusion reactions.

Larger stars with heavier cores make the heavier elements up to iron.

The rest are forged by exploding supernovae or the death of largest stars.

Teacher Notes

Students could be challenged to describe and explain where all the elements that make up the universe come from.

The clip can be used as a starter point for the introduction of nuclear fusion and the life process of stars.

Curriculum Notes

This topic will be relevant to GCSE Physics in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 3 and 4 in Scotland.

More from the series Wonders of the universe

Time and entropy