The Your Weight on Other Planets Interactive is an adjustable-size file that displays nicely on tablets such as the iPad, on Chromebooks, and on laptops and desktops. The size of the Interactive can be re-sized to fit the device that it is displayed on. The compatibility with iPads, other tablets, and Chromebooks make it a perfect tool for use in a 1:1 classroom. This Interactive does not display very nicely on all phones and we do not recommend its use on many phones.


Teaching Ideas and Suggestions:

This Interactive is intended for use in a unit that discusses the concept of universal gravitation. Students are often curious about how much they would weigh on another planet. This Interactive shows the weight of a 50-kg person on all the planets in the solar system. Students click on the photo of a planet and view the weight of a 50-kg person on that planet, The mass and radius of the planet and several interesting facts about the planet are also stated. The best use of the Interactive is as an inquiry activity. Students could be challenged with a question similar to the one below:
A 50-kg person weighs 490 N on Earth's surface. But the same 50-kg person does not 490 N on other planets. Using the Your Weight on Other Planets Interactive, click on various locations to determine the manner in which it varies. What seems to be the pattern by which the g value varies? What does the value of g seem to depend upon? What general rule could be made for predicting when the g value is smallest and when it is greatest? After conducting your investigation, write a claim that responds to these questions. Support your claim with evidence and reasoning.

Related Resources

There are numerous resources at The Physics Classroom website that serve as very complementary supports for the Your Weight on Other Planets 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.

  • Further Investigations: 
    It is a bit difficult to conduct hands-on investigations on other planets. Nonetheless, The Laboratory section of The Physics Classroom website includes some additional experiences that complement this Interactive. Two notable ideas include ...

    The Great Mass Attraction Simulation
    Satellite Motion Simulation

    Visit The Laboratory.

Additional resources and ideas for incorporating Your Weight on Other Planets into an instructional unit on satellite motion and gravitation can be found at the Teacher Toolkits section of The Physics Classroom website.  Visit Teacher Toolkits.

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