1st Grade Trophy Links

Vermilion Parish Schools
Activity 3:  Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation
 (SI GLEs:  2, 12, 19, 25, 27, 28, 34; PS GLEs:  5, 6)

Materials List: teacher-selected reading material about Galileo Galilei, books for research or Internet access, poster-size paper, string or yarn, index cards, computer projector, optional software for concept map

Part A: Have the students compare and critique scientific investigations of Johannes Kepler, Tycho Brahe, Galileo Galilei, and Nicholas Copernicus. Kepler theorized that planets closest to the Sun moved faster than those farther away. However, it was Isaac Newton that finally explained Kepler’s theory. Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation states that the force of gravity depends on the product of the masses of the objects divided by the square of the distance between them. If two objects have a mass of 1kg and are moved twice as far apart, the gravitational attraction between them will decrease by a factor of ¼. How can something you multiply (factor/times) show a reduction? This is because of the division by the square of the distance: Fgrav= (m1 x m2) / d2, where Fgrav= the force of gravity between the two objects, m1 and m2 are the two objects’ masses, d is the distance.  As in the previous example, (1kg x 1kg) / 22 = ¼ the force of gravity. Challenge the students to calculate how much of a gravitational decrease would occur if the same objects were moved 10 times farther apart (10 x 10 = 100 times less than the original force of gravity).

Challenge the students to work cooperatively to solve the following separate problems. “If you could increase Earth’s mass by two times, how much gravitational influence would Earth have on an orbiting satellite?” (twice as much) “If the satellite is boosted three times farther from Earth, would the gravitational pull on the satellite be more or less?” (less) “How much of a difference would there be?” (3 x 3 = 9 times less than the original force of gravity).

For closure, have students form groups of three or four to construct a concept map, a graphic organizer (view literacy strategy descriptions), of gravity. Provide students with poster-size paper, string or yarn, and cards that have key terms and phrases as well as blank cards for student-generated terms and phrases. If software programs for concept maps are available, students can construct their concept map using a computer and the program. Students should be able to print these. Allow a two-minute talk for each student group to share their concept map with the class. Students’ concept maps could be displayed in the classroom.




8th Grade Curriculum Site (Vermilion Parish Schools) or Science By Unit

Looking for a specific topic? Search our Vermilion sites below!

Key Code for Documents   = Internet Source   = Acrobat Reader   = PowerPoint   =MS Word   = Excel    = Inspiration   = Kidspiration 3  Video


8th Grade Main Link  Vermilion Parish for Kids!      Hurricanes for Kids!    LA Indians for Kids!    Louisiana for Kids Site   eHomework Pad for Kids!   Testing Site for Kids!

Vermilion Parish Curriculum Site (Correlates with 2008 Louisiana Comprehensive Curriculum)


Vermilion Parish Schools (Louisiana)

Note: Most sites need Java. Adobe Flash, Shockwave, or Adobe Acrobat Reader
To report broken links or comments, please email
Stacy Bodin

Hit Counter