Science Reasoning Center - Circular Motion

Here is our current listing of Science Reasoning activities for Circular and Planetary Motion. All activities can be used as a Guest without Task Tracker or as a logged-in student with Task Tracker. Learn more about Task Tracker for Science Reasoning activities.


Weightlessness Training

This activity presents information regarding NASA's effort to train astronauts to become accustomed to weightless sensations. Information is presented in the form of a graph, a photo and a diagram. Questions target a student's ability to interpret a graph and a diagram in light of a body of text, to select data values from a graph, to identify conclusions that are consistent with a model, and to translate information from one graph to another graph.


Roller Coaster Loops

This activity presents data that compares a circular loop and a clothoid loop on a roller coaster, thus comparing the effect of loop shape, loop radius and initial drop height upon the speed and the G forces experienced by riders at the top and the bottom of the loops. Data is presented in the form of two figures and two data tables. Questions target a student's ability to identify the effect of one variable upon another variable, to compare data points from different tables, to interpolate and to extrapolate from data in a table, to draw conclusions that are consistent with the provided data, and to use provided data to evaluate the safety issues surrounding projected loop designs.



Universal Gravitation

This NGSS-inspired activity includes three parts. In the first activity, students describe the manner in which the variables mass and separation distance and gravitational force are related by completing a paragraph with missing words. In the second and third activities, students must use an understanding of the mathematical relationship between mass, separation distance, and gravitational force in order to determine a new gravitational force when either the mass and/or the sepration distance is changed by a factor of 2, 3, or 4.


Kepler's Laws

This NGSS-inspired activity includes four parts. Students complete two activities by answering multiple choice questions that focus on the various representations of the distance-speed-time relationship for an orbiting satellite or planet. Students use Kepler's third law to predict the values of period or radius when a change is made in the other quantity. And finally, students complete an explanation of the qualitative patterns in distance, speed and time for an orbiting planet.

Kepler's Third Law

This activity describes an exercise in which students analyze period-radius data for the orbit of the (traditional) nine planets. The information is presented in the form of a data table and six different graphs of period and radius raised to various powers. Questions target a student's ability to understand the linear regression process, to recognize patterns in the data and graphs, to identify the relationship between the two variables, and to use the relationship to make predictions about the radius ratio or period ratio for planets in a fictional solar system.