Gravity and Orbits: Gravitational Force

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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 second of three Science Objects in the Gravity and Orbits SciPack. It investigates the variables that influence gravitational forces acting on objects. Mass is a measure of the amount of matter that makes up an object (regardless of where that object is located) and weight is a measure of the gravitational force acting on an object. The strength of the gravitational force between masses is proportional to the product of the masses and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. Gravity will cause all objects at the same distance from Earth’s surface to fall toward Earth with the same acceleration regardless of their mass.

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Reviews (6)
  • on Sun Mar 29, 2015 11:07 AM

This science object gives great graph activities, which allow you to visualize the patterns in the relationships between gravity, acceleration, time, position, weight, mass, etc. If you are a perceptual learner these graphs help get the big picture between gravity, position, and motion.

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

  • on Tue Sep 02, 2014 7:27 AM

I really enjoy Science Objects. In 1-3 hours, the Gravity and Orbits: Gravitational Force 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 Thu Mar 01, 2012 12:39 AM

Although a very widely explored topic and concept, the presentation gave it a different level of discussion. The information have been organized to appeal to a variety of learner. This is a very useful resource in a physical science classroom. Every physics and physical science educator must see.

Ronaldo Relador  (Bowie, MD)
Ronaldo Relador (Bowie, MD)

  • on Sun Jan 01, 2012 10:29 PM

This object was presented VERY well. I liked all of the real-world examples. The specific examples that i liked the best in this one was the mass/weight elevator examples. I felt like those nailed the content right in, and I definitely enjoyed the concrete, illustrative examples!

Brandy Stewart
Brandy Stewart

  • on Mon Dec 26, 2011 6:25 PM

This resource demonstrates through interactivity, that the strength of the gravitational force on an object near Earth's surface is directly proportional to the object's mass. Although it involves some mathematics (computation), it's done in a scholar-friendly way to actively engage even the most apprehensive of learners. Material is definitely worth reviewing (by educators and students alike).

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

  • on Sun Jan 22, 2012 7:51 PM

I found this resource challenging. The concepts are not intuitive and I feel more exposure to these topics would help me gain confidence with my content understanding.

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


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