Two Versions of Gravity: Newton and Einstein

This Two Versions of Gravity: Newton and Einstein lesson plan also includes:

We have all heard the debate about teaching both theories, but an innovative lesson takes the discussion to a new level. Scholars research and debate Newton's Law of Gravitation versus Einstein's General Theory of Relativity with pre-1919 knowledge. In the process, they discover that new data becomes the determining factor and that science is always evolving.

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CCSS: Adaptable
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Instructional Ideas
  • Have pupils research or list other scientific debates that have happened historically or are currently happening
Classroom Considerations
  • Lesson assumes prior knowledge of Newton's Law of Gravitation, Einstein's Theory of Relativity, and planetary motion in general
  • Intended for a class of 20 to 30 students; if you have a smaller class, assign two to three learners to the second, third, and fourth paragraphs, and then regroup, taking at least one student from each of those groups to assign to paragraphs one or five
  • Lesson is in a 5E format
  • Incorporates both group presentations and research 
  • Strong emphasis on the concept that scientific theories change over time
  • None