In this activity, students use a scale model of the Earth and identify altitudes of various satellites. They then use a smaller object on a string to model gravity and satellite motion.
By the end of this activity, students should be able to:
- describe how far above the surface of the Earth satellites orbit
- demonstrate different types of orbit
- explain that the attraction of gravity always pulls satellites towards the centre of the Earth and that this force causes circular motion
- demonstrate how a satellite will move in a circular orbit only if it is travelling at the right speed.
Download the Word file for:
- introduction/background notes
- what you need
- what to do
- discussion points
- extension ideas.
Download the Download the Excel spreadsheet for scale distances in space.