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This content is taken from the National STEM Learning Centre's online course, Teaching Primary Science: Physics. Join the course to learn more.

Odd One Out

You may have come across Odd One Out activities in our courses before, but now think about how you can use them to teach physics.

In Odd One Out activities children explore the similarities and differences in a set of pictures or physical objects. The Explorify Odd One Out activities, such as Big Hitters, can be used to start exploring the idea of friction and in particular the misconception that there is no friction when things move easily, for example the hockey puck on the ice.

You can use Odd One Out activities in different ways. Children could be asked to:

  • Choose one odd one out and explain their reasoning,
  • Find a reason for each picture or object to be the odd one out and to once again explain their reasons,
  • Choose similarities for two or all of the pictures or objects. (based on ideas from PSTT Bright Ideas)

To successfully run this activity you must first ensure that the children know what each of the pictures or objects are. Ensure that time is given to this quick discussion at the start of the activity.

As there are no right or wrong answers, children feel confident to share their ideas. This makes Odd One Out activities particularly useful for eliciting children’s understanding and are regularly used as an assessment tool at the beginning and/or at the end of a topic.


Take a look at the Odd One Out activities on the Explorify website. It is free to sign up to. Let us know which one you particularly liked and why. How would you use it in the classroom and what would you hope it would show?

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This article is from the free online course:

Teaching Primary Science: Physics

National STEM Learning Centre