Earth and Space | Forces and Motion

Thinking about actions to take: Orbits and Satellites

Teaching Guidance for 11-14 Supporting Physics Teaching

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

Try these

  • giving time to exploring the idea of a natural motion
  • giving physical experiences of motion in a circle
  • explicitly modelling the two dimensional motion, if you go that far
  • building up to the idea of an orbit, from thrown objects, gradually increasing the launch speed

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 the launching of a satellite with is orbiting
  • restricting the discussion of satellites to artificial satellites
  • centrifugal force

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.

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