In this unit students investigate the relationship among mass, weight, and gravitation by imagining sports on the moon. The premise for this unit is that one day a colony will be established there and that humans will one day live there for extended periods of time. Since sports provide necessary exercise and entertainment, provisions will need to be made for sports on the moon. Initially, students need to identify the essential characteristics of a sport of their choice. Then they brainstorm the possible changes needed to the rules and/or equipment for the adaptation of that sport to the moon colony. Second students investigate free fall, mass, weight, and the acceleration due to the moon’s gravity. They also have the opportunity to explore the derivation and origin of the equation d=1/2gt2 and apply this equation to free fall on the moon. Next the implications of changes (or lack of change) in these variables on projectile motion and jumping on the moon are analyzed. Students then use the independence of the horizontal and vertical components of projectile motion to compare this type of motion on earth with that on the moon. These factors can then be applied to a hypothetical game of golf on the moon and to the impact of frictional forces on both the earth and the moon. Next the question of why astronauts “bound” instead of walking normally on the moon is investigated by revisiting and analyzing pendula and relating this to the movement of an astronaut’s legs. Then students compare the motion of objects in an air-filled environment on the moon with the same objects’ motion on earth. Last they write a proposal to NASA to identify or invent a sport that people on the moon will find interesting, exciting, entertaining, and provide needed physical exercise.
STANDARD P2: MOTION OF OBJECTS The universe is in a state of constant change. From small particles (electrons) to the large systems (galaxies) all things are in motion. Therefore, for students to understand the universe they must describe and represent various types of motion. Kinematics, the description of motion, always involves measurements of position and time. Students must describe the relationships between these quantities using mathematical statements, graphs, and motion maps. They use these representations as powerful tools to not only describe past motions but also predict future events.
P2.1 Position — Time
P2.1E Describe and classify various motions in a plane as one dimensional, two dimensional, circular, or periodic.
P2.1g Solve problems involving average speed and constant acceleration in one dimension.
P2.2A Distinguish between the variables of distance, displacement, speed, velocity, and acceleration.
P2.2g Apply the independence of the vertical and horizontal initial velocities to solve projectile motion problems.
STANDARD P3: FORCES AND MOTION Students identify interactions between objects either as being by direct contact (e.g., pushes or pulls, friction) or at a distance (e.g., gravity, electromagnetism), and to use forces to describe interactions between objects. They recognize that non-zero net forces always cause changes in motion (Newton’s fi rst law). These changes can be changes in speed, direction, or both. Students use Newton’s second law to summarize relationships among and solve problems involving net forces, masses, and changes in motion (using standard metric units). They explain that whenever one object exerts a force on another, a force equal in magnitude and opposite in direction is exerted back on it (Newton’s third law).
P3.1 Basic Forces in Nature
P3.1A Identify the force(s) acting between objects in “direct contact” or at a distance.
P3.1d Identify the basic forces in everyday interactions.
P3.2A Identify the magnitude and direction of everyday forces (e.g., wind, tension in ropes, pushes and pulls, weight).
P3.2C Calculate the net force acting on an object.
P3.3A Identify the action and reaction force from examples of forces in everyday situations (e.g., book on a table, walking across the fl oor, pushing open a door).
P3.3b Predict how the change in velocity of a small mass compares to the change in velocity of a large mass when the objects interact (e.g., collide).
P3.4 Forces and Acceleration
P3.4A Predict the change in motion of an object acted on by several forces.
P3.4B Identify forces acting on objects moving with constant velocity (e.g., cars on a highway).
P3.4e Solve problems involving force, mass, and acceleration in two-dimensional projectile motion restricted to an initial horizontal velocity with no initial vertical velocity (e.g., ball rolling off a table).
P3.6 Gravitational Interactions
P3.6C Explain how your weight on Earth could be different from your weight on another planet.
P4.2 Energy Transformation
P4.2A Account for and represent energy transfer and transformation in complex processes (interactions).
P4.3 Kinetic and Potential Energy
P4.3A Identify the form of energy in given situations (e.g., moving objects, stretched springs, rocks on cliffs, energy in food).
P4.3B Describe the transformation between potential and kinetic energy in simple mechanical systems (e.g., pendulums, roller coasters, ski lifts).
P4.3C Explain why all mechanical systems require an external energy source to maintain their motion.
P4.3x Kinetic and Potential Energy — Calculations
P4.3e Calculate the changes in kinetic and potential energy in simple mechanical systems (e.g., pendulums, roller coasters, ski lifts) using the formulas for kinetic energy and potential energy.
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