Space Physics: gravity force, weight, difference on other planets, between earth and moon and earth and sun

Gravity is a difficult topic to find practical activities for, but here are a few suggestions for demonstrations and experiments.

Visit the practical work page to access all resources and lists focussing on practical work in secondary science: www.nationalstemcentre.org.uk/sciencepracticals

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Earth in Space 11-14

Gravity is a topic full of misconceptions and teachers who lack confidence in this topic will greatly appreciate the structure offered by this resource from the Institute of Physics and will want to take the opportunity to read around the subject a little.

Here we focus on two activities from ES01: 1 Beam Hanging and 3 Tins of Beans. Once you have down loaded the file choose the ES01 TA document. Background notes can be found in ES01 PN and ES01 PL.

Beam Hanging is an excellent introduction to the idea of gravity and would make a super lesson starter. It will challenge students to think through exactly what they mean when they talk about gravity.

Follow this up with the Tins of Beans activity where students experience the weight of tins on different planets. This practical work will help make clear the difference between mass and weight. There is the opportunity to introduce students to simple and more complex calculations and think about the units used. Note that the activity uses 200g tins of beans. If teachers want to use the more standard 415g size then the weights will need scaling up appropriately.  

publication year
2010 to 2019

13 files

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