Gravity and Falling

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This fun and simple hands-on astronomy activity lets learners experiment with a bucket, stretchy fabric, marbles, and weights to discover some basics about gravity. Learners will explore how mass curves space, how an object with more mass will curve more space, why things fall to Earth, and why all objects, regardless of their mass, will fall at the same rate into the same massive object. The pdf contains step-by-step instructions, photos, presentation tips, and links to background information.

Quick Guide

Preparation Time:
Under 5 minutes

Learning Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$10 - $20 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 6 - adult

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model


Materials List (per group of students)

  • 2 buckets (13”/33 cm plastic planters), from a garden store
  • 2.5 pound (1 kg) lead weight, from a fishing or sporting goods store. *See important safety note on lead weights in the Helpful Hints
  • 8 oz (225 g) lead weight
  • 4 oz (100 g) lead weight
  • 2 Pee-wee marbles
  • 2 Shooter (one-inch/2.5 cm) marbles
  • A few regular marbles
  • 2 bungee cords
  • 2 18" (45 cm) squares stretch fabric squares. Make sure the fabric is lightweight and quite stretchy in all directions.
  • Large towel or blanket


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • touch


This resource is part of:

Access Rights:

  • Free access



  • All rights reserved, Astronomical Society of the Pacific, 2008