Physics KS3/KS4: Professor Brian Cox - The solar system

This video gives an overview of the solar system, describing the collection of objects that orbit around the sun, our star.

As well as naming the planets and their relative order from the sun, other components of the solar system are considered, including the asteroid belt, the dwarf planets, and beyond to the Kuiper Belt and Oort Cloud.

This information goes beyond what is required for the curriculum but should inspire and engage students in the topic.

As with other clips in the series, the idea of space physics as an evolving science is suggested.

Teacher notes

Points for discussion

  • Students should have learned about the solar system in primary school, including the names and order of the planets from the sun. This film would be a useful way of revisiting that as a starting point at KS3, while also acting as a good hook for the new topic.

Suggested activities

  • This video would be a useful introduction to a topic on space physics at KS3.

  • It might be useful to follow this video with the video 'Moons in the solar system' in this series as it defines what a moon is, and how to differentiate between moons and planets.

Curriculum information

Suitable for KS3 England, Wales and NI and CfE Scotland, S1-3.

More from this series:

Why do we have days, nights and seasons?
Why do astronomers use 'light years' to measure distance in space?
What is the Milky Way?
Moons in our solar system