Isaac Newton is one the most famous scientists in the world. He is best known for discovering how gravity works, but he worked on so many different topics that he completely changed how we understand the world.

Quiz Answers:

Question 1
Newton made a telescope using mirrors instead of lenses.  What is this type of telescope called?
Reflecting telescope

Reflecting telescopes use a series of curved mirrors to focus an image. Lots of modern day telescopes are based on reflective telescopes, including the Hubble Space Telescope.

Question 2
Newton showed us that white light is made up of all the colours of the rainbow.  He did this by shining the sun's light through what?
A prism

A prism is a triangle shaped piece of glass that bends the light as it travels through it. You can use a glass of water to bend the light instead of a prism. Try our make a rainbow activity after you've finished the quiz.

Question 3
His first law of motion tells us...
That a spacecraft floating in space without its engines on will just keep moving unless something stops it.

The spacecraft will keep on moving no air resistance to slow it down. Try our staying on the ground activity after you've finished this quiz to find out more about air resistance.

Hint: If your students are struggling with these questions then you can remind them that they are looking for a law of motion (movement).

Question 4
His second law of motion tells us...
It is harder to make a heavier object move than a lighter one.

Think about what it would be like to push a football along the ground. It is nice and light and easy to move. Now think about what it would be like to push a cannonball instead. Hard work! It is more tiring because it is heavier and harder to move.

Question 5
His third law of motion tells us...
If you push someone away from you in a swimming pool you will float away in the opposite direction too.

Because you are free to float about in a swimming pool, you can push someone away from you and you will move away too. Try it next time you are swimming with your friends - see how far you can float away from each other.

Question 6
He also figured out how gravity works. Which falling fruit inspired him?
An apple

Newton was in England when he was inspired by the apple falling to the ground. It's not so easy to grow bananas and mangos in England as they need a lot of heat and sun.

Question 7
Newton understood that the force of gravity, pulling a ball down to the ground, was due to what?
The mass of the Earth and the ball

Gravity is due to the mass of the Earth and the ball. Mass means how much 'stuff' is in the Earth and the ball. 

Question 8
Newton also studied which of these subjects?

Newton also studied heat and looked at how hot objects become cooler, such as a cup of tea.

Question 9
Newton argued with another scientist about who was first to invent calculus.  What is calculus?
A type of maths

Calculus is a type of maths (similar to the word 'calculate'). Newton was a great mathematician and worked out the answers to some very tricky questions using maths.  

Question 10
Newton believed that light was made up of what?
Tiny particles

Newton thought that light was made up of lots of very very small particles which we cannot see. Other scientists believed light was made of waves... now we know they were all right!


Curriculum Links 


Working Scientifically


Lower key stage 2 Year 3
Forces and magnets


Lower key stage 2 Year 4
States of matter


Upper key stage 2 Year 5
Properties and changing materials


Upper key stage 2 Year 6


Reading - Comprehension


Scottish Curriculum


SCN 2-08a

Forces, electricity and waves - Forces


SCN 2-11b

Forces, electricity and waves - Vibrations and waves

Literacy and English

LIT 2-16a

Reading - Understanding, analysing and evaluating

Social Studies


SOC 2-06a

People, past events and societies

Discussing why people and events from a particular time in the past were important, placing them within a historical sequence


SOC 2-04a

People, past events and societies

Comparing and contrasting a society in the past with my own and contributing to a discussion of the similarities and differences.

Sir Isaac Newton lived in the 17th Century, when modern science really started.  Newton believed - as we do now - that nature follows certain rules, or laws of physics. 

Scientists at the time started looking for answers to everyday questions like 'Why do things fall to the ground?'  They carried out experiments to find the answers, and Newton found answers to many, many questions.



Newton said:

"I do not know what I may appear to the world, but to myself I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the sea-shore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me."




How do you think he felt about his discovering something that no one else had found?  Do you think he wanted to find out more and keep on experimenting?  Do you think Newton thought it was going to be possible to understand everything?

Sir Isaac Newton made an enormous contribution to science, but can you tell what he did do and what he didn't?

Take the quiz online here,

or download the pdf worksheet.