In the early 1600s, Johannes Kepler worked for a period of time on an island owned by the Danish astronomer, Tycho Brahe. Tycho's palace included room sized protractors where very accurate positions of the planets could be observed. Tycho had books and books of these accurate measurements. Kepler used the data from these books to develop three laws of planetary motion.
In this activity, students will verify Kepler's Third Law which is a formula. The amazing discovery that Kepler made is that when you take the average distance of a planet (cubed) divided by the time period of one orbit (squared), the answer WILL BE THE SAME NUMBER FOR ALL OF THE PLANETS IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM. Students will run these calculations using a calculator to see if this actually works. The first two pages of the activity are student pages to be duplicated and distributed to the class. The last page (in yellow) show the answers to the activity