Through this lesson, students will learn that gravity is a universal force of attraction between two objects, and that gravity is a force found throughout the galaxy. Students will experience first-hand the powerful effects of gravity using video, hands-on activities, and the Internet in a cooperative setting. Scientific information will be made real through re-creation and simulation. The concepts of gravity, the phenomena of gravitational force, free fall, and weightlessness will be studied and tested using two diverse lab activities.
This lesson has been developed as part of a Technology unit on transportation and exploration in space for use in an integrated setting where mathematical and scientific skills such as measuring, predicting, formulating explanations, drawing conclusions, and collecting and organizing data are used on a daily basis, and it is intended for use in a semester block schedule where class periods are eighty minutes in length.
Students will be able to:
- Calculate effects of gravitational force on planets
- Discuss the effects of weightlessness on the human body
- Describe and demonstrate how objects in a state of free fall are accelerated by gravity at an equal rate
- Define gravity as the force of attraction between two objects
- Define free fall as the way an object moves when it is influenced by gravity only
Introductory Learning Activity Materials
Learning Activity Worksheet
Focus for Media Interaction Worksheet
Culminating Activity Materials
Culminating Activity Worksheet
National Science Standards
Standard A: Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry
Understandings about scientific inquiry
Standard E: Abilities of technological design
Understandings about science and technology
Standard F: Understanding about science and technology in society
Standard G: Understanding of science as a human endeavor
Understanding of the nature of science
Understanding of the history of science
New York State Math, Science, and Technology Standards
Standard 1: Mathematics, Science & Technology
Students will use mathematical analysis, scientific inquiry, and engineering design, as appropriate, to pose questions, seek answers, and develop solutions.
Standard 2: Information Systems
Students will access, generate, process, and transfer information using appropriate technologies.
Standard 3: Mathematics
Students will understand mathematics and become mathematically confident by communicating and reasoning mathematically, by applying mathematics in real-world settings, and by solving problems through the integrated study of number systems, geometry, algebra, data analysis, probability, and trigonometry.
Standard 4: Science
Students will understand and apply scientific concepts, principles, and theories pertaining to the physical setting and living environment and recognize the historical development of ideas in science.
3-2-1 Classroom Contact, Episode #22: "Gravity"
Your Weight on Other Worlds
This Web site has a Java applet that allows your students to enter their weight here on Earth, and in return they can find out what their weight would be on various planets and other celestial bodies. There is a very detailed description of gravity and how it plays a role in each planet's gravitational pull based on the distance between the planet's center of gravity and the mass being affected.
1 Twenty Dollar Bill (for Teacher Challenge)
1 Small Styrofoam or Plastic Cup
1 Medium Sized Tupperware Tray (2"-3" deep, about 9"x12" or larger)
1 Plastic Drop Cloth (8"x8")