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The Pull of the Planets


Source Institutions

    Lunar and Planetary Institute

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The Pull of the Planets

In this activity, learners model the gravitational fields of planets on a flexible surface. Learners place and move balls of different sizes and densities on a plastic sheet to develop a mental picture of how the mass of an object influences how much effect it has on the surrounding space. This activity is part of a sequence of activities focused on Jupiter's immense size.

Quick Guide


Preparation Time:
10 to 30 minutes

Learning Time:
30 to 45 minutes

Estimated Materials Cost:
$5 - $10 per group of students

Age Range:
Ages 8 - 14

Resource Types:
Activity, Lesson/Lesson Plan, Model

Language:
English

Materials List (per group of students)


Subjects


  • Earth and Space Science
    • Astronomy
      • Probes, Satellites and Spacecraft
      • Size and Scale
    • Solar System
      • The Planets
  • Mathematics
    • Measurement
      • Size and Scale
  • Physical Sciences
    • Motion and Forces
      • Gravity
    • Structure and Properties of Matter
      • Mass and Weight
      • Volume and Density
  • The Nature of Science
    • The Scientific Process
      • Conducting Investigations
      • Gathering Data
      • Formulating Explanations
      • Communicating Results

Informal Categories


  • Model Building

Audience


To use this activity, learners need to:

  • see
  • read
  • touch

Learning styles supported:

  • Involves teamwork and communication skills
  • Involves hands-on or lab activities

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