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How will the world end?

The end of the world can be a scary subject to broach, find out how we do it.

The Story of Stars video is aimed at children aged 7 to 11 and introduces them to the lifecycles of three different stars: Otis, Georgie and Markus. Here are the main stages in a star’s life:

  1. Stars are formed in a giant cloud of gas and dust called a nebula. There is a famous stellar nursery called the Orion Nebula, visible in the sword of the constellation Orion.
  2. Our Sun and solar system formed in a nebula 4.5 billion years ago.
  3. Some stars get really big, really hot and really bright – they shine blue. They have the shortest lifetimes.
  4. Some stars are medium-sized like the Sun, they are much cooler than the big blue stars and they appear yellow.
  5. Other stars are smaller, dimmer and cooler than the Sun, they appear orange/red and have the longest lifetimes.
  6. Eventually stars run out of fuel and they change. All stars expand and become red giant stars. The Sun will turn into a red giant in around 5 billion years time – its surface will reach the orbit of the Earth.
  7. Big blue stars explode – this is called a supernova. Medium yellow and small red stars lose their outer layers over hundreds of thousands of years forming a colourful nebula of their own.
  8. Big blue stars eventually become very small, very heavy glowing stars called neutron stars. Or they become black holes.
  9. Yellow Sun-like stars and small red stars eventually become small white dwarf stars which eventually fizzle away to become black dwarf stars.
  10. All of the material left over from these stars is used to form more baby stars, and planets and maybe life!

Think about ways you could teach your pupils about different stars – could you turn this topic into a science project? What resources would you need?

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Our Solar System and Beyond: Teaching Primary Science

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FutureLearn - Learning For Life

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