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Orbital Speed—Demonstration Kit

By: The Flinn Staff

Item #: AP7319 

Price: $18.71

Orbital Speed Demonstration Kit for astronomy and space science contains a unique hand-held apparatus that will be assembled and used to demonstrate orbital speed and centripetal force.

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Product Details

How do the radius of an orbit and gravitational forces affect orbital speed? In this demonstration, a unique hand-held apparatus will be assembled and used to demonstrate orbital speed and centripetal force. Students will use the data collected during the demonstration to calculate the orbital speed of a stopper and to discover the relationships between gravitational force, orbital radius and orbital speed. A great activity to show students that in order for a planet, star or satellite to maintain orbit, the object must travel at a specific speed. Complete instructions and a reproducible student worksheet are provided.

Concepts: Orbits, Kepler’s law, orbital speed, centripetal force.
Time Required: 20 minutes.


Materials Included in Kit: 
Acrylic hollow handle, 5"
Paper clip, jumbo, 2", 2
Pulley cord, 2 yd
Stopper, black rubber, 2-hole, size #4
Washers, ⅜" i.d. x 1" o.d. x 5/64", 18

Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Science & Engineering Practices

Developing and using models
Analyzing and interpreting data
Using mathematics and computational thinking

Disciplinary Core Ideas

MS-ESS1.B: Earth and the Solar System
MS-PS2.A: Forces and Motion
MS-PS2.B: Types of Interactions
HS-ESS1.B: Earth and the Solar System
HS-PS2.A: Forces and Motion
HS-PS2.B: Types of Interactions

Crosscutting Concepts

Scale, proportion, and quantity
Systems and system models
Stability and change

Performance Expectations

HS-ESS1-4. Use mathematical or computational representations to predict the motion of orbiting objects in the solar system.
HS-PS2-1. Analyze data to support the claim that Newton’s second law of motion describes the mathematical relationship among the net force on a macroscopic object, its mass, and its acceleration.
MS-ESS1-2. Develop and use a model to describe the role of gravity in the motions within galaxies and the solar system.
MS-PS2-2. Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object’s motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object
MS-PS2-4. Construct and present arguments using evidence to support the claim that gravitational interactions are attractive and depend on the masses of interacting objects