Six, five, four, three, two, one... blastoff! Watching a rocket take off is pretty amazing, especially when you think about how big one is—one of the Delta rockets is 23 stories high! How much power would you need to launch a rocket that big into space and how would you make sure it goes where you want it to go? Do this activity and find out!
In this part of the lesson, you will get to act as a space pilot and play games of varying difficulty to overcome the force of gravity to get to one or more space stations. Complete all the missions and you're a super space navigator!
First, you need to use your tablet and go to the Gravity Launch app. Once you're there, you can go to the settings and set yourself up as a player. Go ahead and pick the colors you want for your contrail!
Before playing the game, you can learn some more about gravity by tapping on the sun in the middle of the game screen. Think about your answers to these questions that your teacher will discuss in class:
- How does the size of an object affect its gravitational force?
- How does the distance between objects affect how gravity acts on them?
- What is the force produced by a rocket's engines called?
- What does it mean to be in orbit around something?
We suggest that you go to Get to Orbit first so you can practice using the thrust dial. Once you've gotten into orbit, you can go to Land on the Moon to practice using the launch point dial.
Now you're ready to go on all of the missions in the app! You may want to start at the Easy level and work your way to the Advanced. There are four games at each level and they are different levels of difficulty.
You can use the Gravity Launch Mobile student sheet to help you keep track of the different combinations of thrust and launch point as well as any observations you make. When you get a combination that works, write it in the Successful Missions chart.
Keep trying until you've docked with all the stations in the different games.
Thrust is the force that is needed to get the rocket ship off the ground. It is working against the force/pull of gravity. So, there are two forces at play.
When the motion of the rocket ship is changed, that motion is changed by a force. The changes can be in the speed or direction of the rocket ship. For instance, when the thrust starts, it moves the rocket ship from a standstill (which is not very fast) to go flying through the air. Also, when the rocket ship gets near the moon, it changes direction due to the moon's gravitational pull. (Even though the moon's gravitational pull is always the same, remember that when two objects are closer to one another, the pull between them is stronger.)
On some missions, you need to use the gravitational pull of the moon to direct the rocket ship. This pull of the moon is also a force.
When you experimented with plugging in the wrong numbers for Easy Game 1, you observed the rocket ship orbiting the earth and moon. It was actually falling around the earth and moon.
This esheet is a part of the Gravity Launch Mobile lesson.