AAPT Abstract Archive

Abstract Information

  Session: Post-deadline Abstracts III
  Paper Type: Contributed
  Title: Developing Newton's Universal Law of Gravitation with Real Astronomical Data
  Meeting: 2017 Summer Meeting: Cincinnati, Ohio
  Location: N/A
  Time: 3:50PM
  Author: Lucas G. Walker,, Weston High School
203-913-0228, lucas.walker.7@gmail.com
  Co-Author(s): None
  Abstract: Adoption of NGSS will require teachers to come up with authentic ways for students to develop fundamental laws of nature through observation and analysis. A rule like the Law of Gravity has been traditionally accepted on faith, because Newton’s own analysis is too arcane and complex for them to productively follow. But students can actually easily develop the 1/r-squared mathematical relationship on their own by analyzing a new, freely-available trove of data – the exoplanet orbital database! I have developed an instructional sequence that begins with the curious observation that the ISS is accelerating at only 9.1 m/s per second, and eventually guides students to design the experiment investigating how acceleration changes with orbital radius. Finally, they discover the appropriate mathematical model on their own by analyzing real exoplanet data using free graphing calculator software available online, in support of the NGSS expectation that students “develop AND use mathematical models.”
  Footnotes: None
  Presentation: Modeling Newton’s Universal Law of Gravitation - upload.pptx

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