Gravity and Orbits: Universal Gravitation

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Science Objects are two hour on-line interactive inquiry-based content modules that help teachers better understand the science content they teach. This Science Object, co-developed between NASA and NSTA, is the first of three Science Objects in the Gravity and Orbits SciPack. It provides an understanding of gravitational forces associated with all objects that have mass. Every object exerts a gravitational force on every other object. The force is hard to detect unless at least one of the objects has a lot of mass. Any two objects will exert an equal gravitational force (in opposite directions) on one another. Gravity is the force behind the falling rain and flowing rivers, and is responsible for pulling the matter that makes up planets and stars toward their centers to form spheres.

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Reviews (7)
  • on Sun Mar 29, 2015 8:41 AM

Explained the relationship between the forces of gravity, air resistance, and buoyancy. Motion is the sum of all these forces acting on the object. Going through the simulations and assessments will help improve your understanding of the impact of gravity and motion!

Robin Willig  (Rye Brook, NY)
Robin Willig (Rye Brook, NY)

  • on Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:28 AM

I really enjoy Science Objects. In 1-3 hours, the Gravity and Orbits: Universal Gravitational Science Object will help me re-learn, refresh, or learn for the first time some critical science concepts I will have to know to obtain my Science Educator credentials. I appreciate that I can complete them at my own pace, and that, if used as park of a SciPack, I have access to a content expert to go to for help. The NSTA Learning Center Science Objects are very beneficial!

Naomi Beverly  (Marietta, GA)
Naomi Beverly (Marietta, GA)

  • on Tue Mar 18, 2014 2:52 PM

I found this science object to be a good refresher on what I already knew about gravitational forces. It was, however, a little dry/boring. I found my attention drifting in and out, but like I said, it was a nice reminder course.

Josh Adams  (Thoreau, NM)
Josh Adams (Thoreau, NM)

  • on Sun Jul 21, 2013 11:58 PM

This module is an overview of gravity and all of its properties. It includes a summation of Newton's three laws of motion, and Aristotle's, Galileleo's, and Newton's views on gravity. It teaches buoyancy force, Charles law of volume and temperature at a constant pressure, and the way gravity forms asteroids, planets, and stars. There are interactive modules that show how gravity behaves and how when a force acting on an object is no longer in contact with that object, the only force acting on the object is gravity. The buoyancy force is still confusing to me and I would like some more clarity on it at this time.

Jennifer Williams
Jennifer Williams

  • on Sun Jan 22, 2012 9:44 PM

I found this resource valuable in helping me clarify some of the concepts related to size and direction of gravitational effects between objects.

Darrel Tanaka  (Shoreline, Washington)
Darrel Tanaka (Shoreline, Washington)

  • on Mon Dec 26, 2011 6:20 PM

Great material. Clearly and concisely explains that the motion of an object depends on the sum of all the forces acting on the object. Takes a challenging topic full of scientific terminology, and puts it in "plain English'. Good Resource!!!!

Lorrie Armfield  (Laurel, MD)
Lorrie Armfield (Laurel, MD)

  • on Sun Jan 01, 2012 6:58 PM

This object was very long. The information was great and well thought out, and all of the illustrations and activities realy explained the concepts very well. It was hard to focus on everything that was presented at once. Is it possible to break this up into 2 Science objects?

Brandy Stewart
Brandy Stewart


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