Planetary Motion Kit
Model Kepler’s laws of planetary motion in the classroom. In this series of 6 investigations, students use mathematical and computational thinking to describe the motions of the planets. They investigate ellipses, calculate eccentricity, use data to determine the orbit of a planet, collect evidence about the speed of a planet during its orbit, and calculate centripetal force to further understand planetary motion.
While designed for a stand-alone earth science course, this series of activities could be incorporated into a high school physics course during a lesson on classical mechanics, as Kepler’s work on planetary motion was foundational to Newton’s work.
This series of activities requires approximately 30 minutes of preparation and will take students approximately one week (195 minutes).
Includes 1-year access to digital resources that support 3-dimensional instruction for NGSS. Digital resources may include a teacher manual and student guide, pre-lab activities and setup videos, simulations, and post-lab analysis and assessments.
Scale, Proportion, and Quantity
Disciplinary Core Ideas
ESS1.B: Earth and the Solar System
Science and Engineering Practices
Using Mathematical and Computation Thinking
Developing and Using Models
Prerequisite Knowledge and Skills
Students should be familiar with Newton’s laws of motion, solving algebraic equations, and basic geometric features such as arcs, sectors, chords, circles, and ellipses.
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