Chemistry KS3/4: The arrival of water on Earth

Water is the molecule that makes our world habitable, and it's vital to all known forms of life.

Professor Brian Cox visits the Yucatan Peninsula in Mexico to see the evidence of a massive asteroid impact which wiped out nearly three quarters of life on Earth.

But despite these being an incredibly destructive force, asteroid collisions may have actually been important in bringing the first water to our planet.

This clip is from the series Wonders of Life.

Teacher Notes

As a follow-up activity, research the boiling point of a large number of substances and plot a graph of relative molecular mass against boiling point to highlight the special properties of water.

Investigate the properties of water including boiling point, melting point, density (at different temperatures), surface tension, specific heat capacity and its properties as a solvent. Relate these to water being a polar molecule that forms hydrogen bonds and explain how each of these properties is important in the maintenance of life.

Put all of the information together into a water fact file and include further information such as hydrophilic and hydrophobic molecules.

Curriculum Notes

This clip will be relevant for teaching Chemistry at KS3 and KS4/GCSE in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and SQA National 3/4/5 in Scotland.

More from Wonders of Life:

Bacteria and the development of an oxygen rich atmosphere
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Conservation of energy
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How has life on Earth become so varied?
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Lemurs: Evolution and adaptation
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Jellyfish and photosynthesis
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The origins of life on Earth
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Evolution of hearing
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Evolution of sight
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Evolution of the senses
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Gravity, size and mass
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Size and heat
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