Orbits App

Orbits App

Launch Tool

  • iPad
  • iPhone
  • iPod Touch

Orbits is an interesting app. It shows the orbits of planets around the sun. You have full control over the sun and the planets. You can manipulate the size of the sun; thus changing its gravitational pull. Then you can observe what would happen to the planets in our solar system with that new gravity. You also can add your own planet and manipulate its characteristics to see where it would fit in the solar system. You can zoom in to see an orbit in more detail or zoom out to see more planets.

The graphics in the game are excellent. The purpose of the app is obvious and playing it is easy to figure out. And the results of changing the variables seem very accurate to our understanding of gravity’s effects on the planets.

Going Further

For Educators

The fact that students can manipulate variables and observe results makes this a useful educational tool. Given the learning goals for the high-school level, this app would allow students to explore how Newtonian mechanics can be applied to the study of the motions of the solar system. You could allow your students to simply investigate this app on their own and see for themselves what happens to the motion of objects in the solar system when the mass of one of the objects is changed. Alternatively, you could provide your students with a predetermined set of variables you want your students to explore.

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Tool Details

Grades Themes Type Project 2061 Benchmarks National Science Standards
AAAS Thinkfinity