Modeling with PhET Gravity Lab

Contributor
PhET Justin Snook Trish Loeblein Carl Wieman Noah Podolefsky Sam Reid
Type Category
Instructional Materials
Types
Simulation , Interactive Simulation , Numerical/Computer Model
Note
This resource, vetted by NSTA curators, is provided to teachers along with suggested modifications to make it more in line with the vision of the NGSS. While not considered to be “fully aligned,” the resources and expert recommendations provide teachers with concrete examples and expert guidance using the EQuIP rubric to adapted existing resources. Read more here.

Reviews

Description

Using this online interactive simulation, students can visualize the relationship between mass and separation of the objects on the magnitude of the force of gravity between two objects. The lesson guide includes questions that lead the student through an exploration of the mathematical relationships between force, mass, and separation.

Intended Audience

Learner
Educational Level
  • High School
Language
English
Access Restrictions

Free access - The right to view and/or download material without financial, registration, or excessive advertising barriers.

Performance Expectations

HS-PS2-4 Use mathematical representations of Newton’s Law of Gravitation and Coulomb’s Law to describe and predict the gravitational and electrostatic forces between objects.

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on both quantitative and conceptual descriptions of gravitational and electric fields.

Assessment Boundary: Assessment is limited to systems with two objects.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this performance expectation.

Comments about Including the Performance Expectation
The lesson questions lead the student through using the simulation to explore the inverse square relationship by collecting and analyzing the measurements that students can make within the simulation of mass, distance between centers of mass, and gravitational force.

Science and Engineering Practices

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
The interactive simulation is used in the lesson to practice computational reasoning.

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this science and engineering practice.

Comments about Including the Science and Engineering Practice
The model can be used to gather data and find the relationship between mass, force, and distance between centers of mass by systematically recording and analyzing data from the model. The questioning in the lesson plans leads the student through the collection and analysis of the data from the simulation.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this disciplinary core idea.

Comments about Including the Disciplinary Core Idea
This relationship is explicitly shown for each choice of position and mass of the spheres.

Crosscutting Concepts

This resource is explicitly designed to build towards this crosscutting concept.

Comments about Including the Crosscutting Concept
A model is provided for investigation and the construction of the explanation is guided in the lesson plan that accompanies the resource.

Resource Quality

  • Alignment to the Dimensions of the NGSS: The simulation is aligned to NGSS and the questioning and assessment has been added by the teacher written lesson plan.

  • Instructional Supports: The tips for monitoring student progress while using the simulation are in the teacher notes and the questions that can be used with students are supplied in the lesson plan.

  • Monitoring Student Progress: There are suggestions in the teacher notes and specific questioning in the teacher written lesson plan.

  • Quality of Technological Interactivity: The simulation is very stable and runs on many platforms.