The Gravitational Fields Interactive is an adjustable-size file that displays nicely on smart phones, on tablets such as the iPad, on Chromebooks, and on laptops and desktops. The size of the Interactive can be scaled to fit the device that it is displayed on. The compatibility with smart phones, iPads, other tablets, and Chromebooks make it a perfect tool for use in a 1:1 classroom.


Teaching Ideas and Suggestions:

This Interactive is intended for use near the earliest stages of a learning cycle on Newton's law of universal gravitation. Especially, when used with the provided exercise, it is best used as an introduction to Newton's gravitation equation. The emphasis of the provided exercise is on the analysis of numerical data with the goal of discovering the mathematical equation relating masses, distance and the force of gravity. As such, it makes little sense to introduce the equation and then to do the exercise.

For many instructors, the most troublesome part of this Interactive will be the units on the gravitational force. The force is not given in Newtons. Such a value would be rather large and for many students, the pattern in the numerical values might become lost amidst the scientific notation. Fictional units for force are used instead.

Our Gravitational Fields simulation is now available with a Concept Checker. Do the simulation. Then follow it up with the Concept Checker.

Related Resources

There are numerous resources at The Physics Classroom website that serve as very complementary supports for the Gravitational Fields Interactive. These include:
  • Minds On Physics Internet Modules:
    The Minds On Physics Internet Modules include a collection of interactive questioning modules that help learners assess their understanding of physics concepts and solidify those understandings by answering questions that require higher-order thinking. Assignments CG6 and CG7 of the Circular Motion and Gravitation module provide great complements to this Interactive. They are best used in the middle to later stages of the learning cycle. Visit the Minds On Physics Internet Modules.

  • Curriculum/Practice: Several Concept Development worksheets at the Curriculum Corner will be very useful in assisting students in cultivating their understanding, most notably ...

    Universal Gravitation
    The Inverse Square Law of Universal Gravitation

    Visit the Curriculum Corner.

Additional resources and ideas for incorporating Gravitational Fields into an instructional unit on Gravitation and Satellite Motion can be found at the Teacher Toolkits section of The Physics Classroom website.  Visit Teacher Toolkits.



The Physics Classroom would like to extend a special thanks to Nerd Island Studios for the creation of this HTML5 Interactive. Visit to see more great stuff by Nerd Island Studios.

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