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Lesson Plans
Gravity: It's GREEEAAATTT!

This lesson is written by Master Teacher Robert Redmon.
OverviewProcedure for teachersStudent Resources and Materials
Grade Level
  6-8
Time Alloment
 Three 45-minute class periods


Overview

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.

Learning Activities

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

Standards

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.

Media Components

Video:
Video: 3-2-1 Classroom Contact, Episode #22: "Gravity"

Web Sites:

Your Weight on Other Worlds
www.exploratorium.edu/ronh/weight/index.html
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.

Materials

Per student:

  • Pencil
  • Introductory Learning Activity Materials
  • Learning Activity Worksheet
  • Focus for Media Interaction Worksheet
  • Culminating Activity Materials
  • Culminating Activity Worksheet

    Per class:
  • 1 Twenty Dollar Bill (for Teacher Challenge)

    Per Group:
  • 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")