Newton's Cannon

Gravity does more than keep our feet on the ground — it holds a satellite in orbit, too. Help learners understand the effects of gravity on an orbiting object through a simulation activity. Individuals adjust a launch speed and watch as the satellite falls back to the earth, orbits the earth, or leaves the earth's atmosphere. Graphs and vectors display the corresponding velocity and acceleration as the satellite moves.

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Instructional Ideas
  • View the video as a class to create motivation for the lesson
Classroom Considerations
  • Must have a free CK-12 account to access the lesson
  • Requires a solid understanding of vectors
  • Allows teachers to submit additional questions to use with the activity through community contributions
  • Interactive component provides opportunity for flexible exploration to build understanding
  • None