# Student Exploration: Gravitational Force

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1 5. Drag STUDENT PACKET # 7 Name: Date: Student Exploration: Gravitational Force Big Idea 13: Forces and Changes in Motion Benchmark: SC.6.P.13.1 Investigate and describe types of forces including contact forces and forces acting at a distance, such as electrical, magnetic, and gravitational. (Also assesses SC.6.P.13.2 and SC.8.P.8.2.) Vocabulary: force, gravity, vector Prior Knowledge Questions (Do these BEFORE using the Gizmo.) On the night of a Full Moon, Mary decides to do an experiment with gravity. At midnight, she brings a black cat to the graveyard. She stands next to her favorite headstone, holds the cat in the air, and lets go. The cat falls to the ground, hisses at her, and runs away. 1. Why did the cat fall to Earth instead of rising up to the Moon? 2. Give two reasons why we feel Earth s gravity more strongly than the Moon s gravity. Gizmo Warm-up From black cats to apples, gravity causes nearly any object to fall to Earth s surface. Gravity also causes the Moon to orbit Earth and Earth and the other planets to orbit the Sun. The Gravitational Force Gizmo allows you to explore the factors that influence the strength of gravitational force. To begin, turn on the Show force vector checkboxes for objects A and B. The arrows coming from each object are vectors that represent gravitational force. The length of each vector is proportional to the force on each object. 3. Move object A around. As object A is moved, what do you notice about the direction of the two force vectors? 4. How do the lengths of the two vectors compare? object A closer to object B. How does this change the gravitational force between the two objects? Science Saturday Enrichment Tutorial Page 1

2 Activity A: Gravity and mass Get the Gizmo ready: Turn on Show vector notation for each object. Check that each object s mass (m A and m B ) is set to kg. Question: How does mass affect the strength of gravitational force? 1. Form hypothesis: How do you think the masses of objects A and B will affect the strength of the gravitational force between them? 2. Predict: How do you think the gravitational force between two objects will change if the mass of each object is doubled? 3. Measure: Turn on Show grid. Place object A on the x axis at -20 and object B on the x axis at 20. The force on object A is now i + 0j N. That means that the force is newtons in the x direction (east) and 0.0 newtons in the y direction (north). A. What is the magnitude of the force on object A? F A = B. What is the magnitude of the force on object B? F B = 4. Gather data: You can change the mass of each object by clicking in the text boxes. For each mass combination listed in the table below, write magnitude of the force on object A. Leave the last two columns of the table blank for now. m A (kg) m B (kg) F A (N) Force factor m A m B (kg 2 ) kg kg kg kg kg kg kg kg 5. Calculate: To determine how much the force is multiplied, divide each force by the first value, N. Round each value the nearest whole number and record in the Force factor column. Next, calculate the product of each pair of masses. Fill in these values in the last column. Compare these numbers to the Force factor numbers. (Activity A continued on next page) Science Saturday Enrichment Tutorial Page 2

3 Activity A (continued from previous page) 6. Analyze: How much does the force increase if each mass is doubled? 7. Analyze: How do the force factors compare to the products of the masses? 8. Apply: What would you expect the force to be if the mass of object A was kg and the mass of object B was kg? Check your answer with the Gizmo. 9. Draw conclusions: How do the masses of objects affect the strength of gravitational force? 10. Summarize: Fill in the blank: The gravitational force between two objects is proportional to the of the masses of the objects. 11. Apply: Suppose an elephant has a mass of 1,800 kg and a person has a mass of 75 kg. If the strength of gravitational force on the person was 735 N, what would be the gravitational force on the elephant? (Assume both the person and elephant are on Earth s surface.) Show your work: Science Saturday Enrichment Tutorial Page 3

4 Activity B: Gravity and distance Get the Gizmo ready: Turn on Show distance. Set m A and m B to kg. Question: How does distance affect the strength of gravitational force? 1. Form hypothesis: How do you think the distance between objects A and B will affect the strength of the gravitational force between them? 2. Predict: How do you think the gravitational force between two objects will change if the distance between the objects is doubled? 3. Measure: Place object A on the x axis at -5 and object B on the x axis at 5. A. What is the distance between the two objects? B. What is the magnitude of the force on object A? F A = 4. Gather data: For each set of locations listed below, record the distance and the force on object A. Leave the last two columns blank for now. Object A Object B Distance (m) F A (N) Force factor 1 Distance 2 (-5, 0) (5, 0) (-10, 0) (10, 0) (-15, 0) (15, 0) (-20, 0) (20, 0) 5. Interpret: How does increasing the distance affect the force? 6. Calculate: To calculate the force factor, divide each force by the original force (0.667 N). Write each force factor with three significant digits. Next, calculate the reciprocal of the square of each distance and fill in the last column of the table. Write each of these values with three significant digits as well. (The unit of 1/distance 2 is square meters, or m 2.) (Activity B continued on next page) Science Saturday Enrichment Tutorial Page 4

5 Activity B (continued from previous page) Teacher will help with this section 7. Analyze: Compare the force factors to the 1/distance 2 values in your table. What is the relationship between these values? 8. Apply: What would you expect the force to be if the distance was 50 meters? Use the Gizmo to check your answer. 9. Make a rule: Based on the measured force between objects that are 10 meters apart, how can you find the force between objects that are any distance apart? 10. Summarize: Fill in the blanks: The gravitational force between two objects is proportional to the of the distance 11. Challenge: In activity A, you found that the gravitational force between two objects is proportional to the product of their masses. Combine that with what you have learned in this activity to complete the universal formula for the force of gravity below. (Hint: In the equation, G is a constant.) Check your answer with your teacher. F Gravity = G 12. On your own: Use the Gizmo to find the value of G in the formula above. List the value and describe how you found it below. The units of G are newton meter 2 kilograms 2, or N m 2 /kg 2. Check your answer with your teacher. G = Show your work: Science Saturday Enrichment Tutorial Page 5

6 Name: Date: Student Exploration: Weight and Mass Big Idea 13: Forces and Changes in Motion Benchmark: SC.6.P.13.1 Investigate and describe types of forces including contact forces and forces acting at a distance, such as electrical, magnetic, and gravitational. (Also assesses SC.6.P.13.2 and SC.8.P.8.2.) Vocabulary: balance, force, gravity, mass, newton, spring scale, weight Prior Knowledge Questions (Do these BEFORE using the Gizmo.) 1. Your weight is the pull of gravity on your body. Suppose you step on a bathroom scale on the Moon. How would your weight on the Moon compare to your weight on Earth? A. greater on the Moon B. less on the Moon C. same on Earth and the Moon 2. Your mass is the amount of matter, or stuff, in your body. How would your mass on the Moon compare to your mass on Earth? A. greater on the Moon B. less on the Moon C. same on Earth and the Moon Gizmo Warm-up On the Weight and Mass Gizmo, you can use a balance to compare the masses of objects. 1. Place the dog on the right pan of the balance. What happens? 2. Place the 5-kilogram (kg) mass on the other pan. Which has more mass, the dog or the 5-kg mass? 3. The 5-kg mass is heavier than the dog, so take it off the pan and place a 1-kg mass on the pan. Add 1-kg masses to the left pan until it goes down. Then take one of the 1-kg masses off the pan so that the masses are above the dog. 4. Use this process of adding and subtracting other masses from the left pan until the two pans are balanced. Add up all the masses on the left pan. This is equal to the mass of the dog. What is the mass of the dog? Science Saturday Enrichment Tutorial Page 6

7 Activity A: Weight on different planets Get the Gizmo ready: Click Clear scales to remove all objects from the spring scale and the balance. Introduction: A spring scale is used to measure force. Since weight is a type of force, a spring scale can measure weight. The metric unit of force is the newton (N). Question: Will an object s weight change on different planets? 1. Measure: Place the pumpkin on the spring scale. Move the cursor over the red line on the scale to see its weight measured to the nearest newton. What is the weight of the pumpkin? 2. Predict: If you take an object to a different planet, do you think its weight will stay the same or be different? (Circle your answer.) Same Different 3. Collect data: Measure the weights of the following objects on Earth, the Moon, Mars, and Jupiter. Record your measurements in the data table below. Weight on Earth Weight on Moon Weight on Mars Weight on Jupiter Pumpkin Dog Watermelon 4. Analyze: Does the weight of an object change when it is moved to a different planet? 5. Extend your thinking: Which celestial body had the strongest gravity, Earth, the Moon, Mars, or Jupiter? Explain how you know Science Saturday Enrichment Tutorial Page 7

8 Activity B: Mass on different planets Get the Gizmo ready: Click Clear scales. Question: How do weight and mass change on different planets? 1. Predict: If you take an object to a different planet, do you think its mass will stay the same or be different? (Circle your answer.) Same Different 2. Collect data: Use the balance to measure the masses of the following objects on Earth, the Moon, Mars, and Jupiter. Record your measurements in the data table below. Mass on Earth Mass on Moon Mass on Mars Mass on Jupiter Pumpkin Dog Watermelon 3. Analyze: Does the mass of an object change when it is moved to a different planet? 4. Draw conclusions: Based on what you have learned about mass and weight, why do you think the mass did not change but the weight did? 5. Extend your thinking: First, using the balance, find the mass of a pumpkin on Jupiter. Then place the pumpkin on the spring scale and record its weight. Finally remove the pumpkin and weigh the masses from the balance on the spring scale. How do the weights compare? Science Saturday Enrichment Tutorial Page 8

9 Extension: Force of gravity Get the Gizmo ready: Click Clear scales. Question: How strong is gravity on Mars, Jupiter, Earth, and the Moon? 1. Observe: Using the spring scale, measure the weights of objects on different planets. List the three planets and the Moon from strongest gravity to weakest. Strongest Weakest 2. Predict: On which planet or moon do you think the 5-kg mass will weigh the most? Least? 3. Collect data: Find the weight of the 5-kg mass at each location. Weight of 5-kg mass (N) Earth Moon Mars Jupiter Was your prediction correct? 4. Calculate: Weight depends on mass and the strength of gravity. Estimate the strength of gravity on each location by dividing the weight of the 5-kg mass by 5. Strength of gravity (weight of 5-kg object 5) Earth Moon Mars Jupiter 5. Calculate: First measure the mass of the flowerpot in the Gizmo. Then predict the weight of the flowerpot on each planet (multiply the mass by that planet s strength of gravity). Finally check your predictions by actually weighing the flowerpot on each planet, using the Gizmo. Flowerpot mass (kg or g) Predicted flowerpot weight (N) Measured flowerpot weight (N) Earth Moon Mars Jupiter Science Saturday Enrichment Tutorial Page 9

10 ASSESSMENT NAME: DATE: Big Idea 13: Forces and Changes in Motion Benchmark: SC.6.P.13.1 Investigate and describe types of forces including contact forces and forces acting at a distance, such as electrical, magnetic, and gravitational. (Also assesses SC.6.P.13.2 and SC.8.P.8.2.) Multiple Choice Identify the choice that best completes the statement or answers the question. 1. Some forces require direct contact, while others, like gravity, act at a distance. Which of the following is NOT influenced by gravity? A. Earth's tides B. your weight C. Earth's orbit D. magnetism 2. Gravity is a force that every mass exerts on every other mass. When you jump up in the air, not only does the Earth exert a gravitational force on you, but you also exert a gravitational force on the Earth. You, of course, fall back down to the Earth. Which of the following explains why the Earth is not moving toward you when you jump up in the air? A. Earth exerts a gravitational force on itself. B. You don't weigh enough to affect Earth's surface. C. Your mass is very small compared to Earth's mass. D. Earth's fixed orbit around the Sun keeps it from moving 3. Ignoring mass and weight contributed by fuel, what happens when the space shuttle takes off and moves away from Earth? A. Its mass decreases and weight increases. B. Its mass increases and weight decreases. C. Its mass remains constant and weight decreases. D. Its mass remains constant and weight increases Science Saturday Enrichment Tutorial Page 10

11 4. Jermaine is being weighed at the doctor's office. Jermaine's weight depends on which of the following? A. his height B. his mass C. his density D. his volume 5. The force of gravity on a person or object on the surface of a planet is called A. mass B. terminal velocity C. weight D. free fall 6. The law of universal gravitation states that any two objects in the universe that have mass, without exception, A. attract each other B. repel each other C. combine to provide a balanced force D. create friction 7. The amount of matter in an object is called its A. inertia B. mass C. force D. balance 8. The force that pulls falling objects towards Earth is called A. gravity B. free fall C. acceleration D. air resistance Science Saturday Enrichment Tutorial Page 11

12 9. Look at the picture. At which point (A, B, C, or D) is the net force due to the gravitational pull of both the Earth and the Moon closest to zero? A. Point A B. Point B C. Point C D. Point D 10. Sharon pushes a toy car and lets it go. The toy car rolls and gradually comes to a stop. What would make the car stop? A. A force must be applied to the car in a direction opposite to that in which it is moving. B. A force must be applied pushing the car forward in the same direction as the moving car. C. A force must be applied in a direction pushing the car upward to make the car stop. D. A force must be applied in a direction pulling the car downward causing the car to stop. Revised 9/ Science Saturday Enrichment Tutorial Page 12

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