# Gravity and Orbit Models

Subject
Resource Type
File Type

PDF

(1 MB|8 pages)
Product Rating
Standards
NGSSMS-ESS1-2
NGSSMS-ETS1-4
• Product Description
• StandardsNEW

In this hands on activity, students create a model of the affect of gravity on the orbiting planets in the solar system by swinging a rubber stopper on a string above their heads. The string represents the gravity, the attractive force that is keeping the planets in orbit. Students change the orbital radius (length of the string) to see how the orbital radius affects the orbital period and then calculate the orbital speed. After completing the activity, they compare their lab data to solar system data and evaluate their model.

NGSS Standards:
MS-ESS1.2: Develop and use a model (physical, graphical, or conceptual) to describe the role of gravity in the motions within galaxies and the solar system.

Science & Engineering Practices: Modeling

- Evaluate limitations of a model for a proposed object or tool
- Develop or modify a model – based on evidence – to match what happens if a variable or component of a system is changed.
- Use and/or develop a model of simple systems with uncertain and less predictable factors
- Develop and/or use a model to generate data to test ideas about phenomena in natural or designed systems, including those representing inputs and outputs, and those at unobservable scales.

Check out these other NGSS aligned resources:

Gravity and Orbits CER

Weight on Other Planets

NGSSMS-ESS1-2
Develop and use a model to describe the role of gravity in the motions within galaxies and the solar system. Emphasis for the model is on gravity as the force that holds together the solar system and Milky Way galaxy and controls orbital motions within them. Examples of models can be physical (such as the analogy of distance along a football field or computer visualizations of elliptical orbits) or conceptual (such as mathematical proportions relative to the size of familiar objects such as students’ school or state). Assessment does not include Kepler’s Laws of orbital motion or the apparent retrograde motion of the planets as viewed from Earth.
NGSSMS-ETS1-4
Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.
Total Pages
8 pages
Included
Teaching Duration
2 hours
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