Gravity and Orbits

Lab type: 
Virtual lab
Lab owner: 
PhET Interactive Simulations
Contact person: 
PhET Interactive Simulations
Age range: 
12-14, 14-16
English, German, French, Italian, Spanish, Polish, Dutch, Hungarian, Portuguese, Greek, Swedish, Bulgarian, Slovak, Danish, Finnish, Croatian, Latvian, Russian, Chinese, Belarusian, Bosnian, Serbian
Level of difficulty: 
Level of interaction: 
Booking required: 
Lab description and primary aims of the lab: 


Move the sun, earth, moon and space station to see how it affects their gravitational forces and orbital paths. Visualize the sizes and distances between different heavenly bodies, and turn off gravity to see what would happen without it!

Sample learning goals:

  • Describe the relationship between the Sun, Earth, Moon and space station, including orbits and positions
  • Describe the size and distance between the Sun, Earth, Moon and space station
  • Explain how gravity controls the motion of our solar system
  • Identify the variables that affect the strength of gravity
  • Predict how motion would change if gravity was stronger or weaker

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