Some satellites “hover” over one place on the earth’s surface – a geosynchronous orbit. This module introduces students to the physics behind geosynchronous orbits. Students work together to find the relationship between the radius and the velocity of an object in circular motion. They graph their data and calculate the gravitational force needed to keep a satellite in geosynchronous orbit.
Students learn: 1) How circular motion is critical for satellites to stay in orbit, 2) How velocity and mass of an object in circular motion are related, and 4) How to use a graphical hypothesis to make predictions, interpret data, and create an argument from evidence.
Independently planning and conducting investigations can be a daunting process for students. This module prepares students to carry out a study from beginning to end and to experience the feeling of ownership that makse the process more exciting. For students who are considering doing a science fair project, this mini-module will give them a better sense of their responsibilities as a science fair participant.
Students learn: 1) How to carry out an investigative study from start to finish, 2) How to perform skills needed for the scientific process and 3) What skills are needed to perform an independent science project (like a school science fair project).