Newton's Law of Gravitation
Earth and Space

Thinking about actions to take: Gravity and Space

Teaching Guidance for 11-14 Supporting Physics Teaching

There's a good chance you could improve your teaching if you were to:

Try these

  • separating the pull of gravity acting on an object from any compression or tension forces supporting the object
  • exploring situations where gravity still pulls, but there is no atmosphere
  • modelling the action of the pull of gravity as a force
  • drawing forces precisely

Teacher Tip: Work through the Physics Narrative to find these lines of thinking worked out and then look in the Teaching Approaches for some examples of activities.

Avoid these

  • conflating mass and weight
  • restricting drawing the pull of gravity on objects to situations where these objects are falling
  • being casual with the term weightless
  • stating that a force is zero, when it's only very small

Teacher Tip: These difficulties are distilled from: the research findings; the practice of well-connected teachers with expertise; issues intrinsic to representing the physics well.

Newton's Law of Gravitation
is expressed by the relation F=G(m_1)(m_2)/r^2
can be used to derive Kepler's First Law

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