# How Fast Are You Moving?

#### Summary

In this exercise students learn about the concept of rotational velocity then use Microsoft Excel and Google Earth to handle and display data.

## Learning Goals

to develop skills in data analysis and display using a spreadsheet, learn how to deal with and present numerical data. This exercise should also help to develop critical thinking skills.

## Context for Use

This is a very adaptable exercise, it could be part of a lab on the solar system. It is also suitable as a homework exercise. It can be scaled up or down and adapted to a variety or levels and situations. As written here it's suitable as a homework assignment for an entry college level class

## Description and Teaching Materials

The students learn how to calculate rotational velocity then write a spread sheet to do this calculation for any moon or planet at any latitude. Based on this the students are asked a series of questions that encourage them to extrapolate from their data and think critically about a couple different issues.

Materials:

Computer with a spreadsheet program

Internet access

Google Earth

Exercise How Fast Are You Moving Handout. (Acrobat (PDF) 154kB Jun15 10)

Materials:

Computer with a spreadsheet program

Internet access

Google Earth

Exercise How Fast Are You Moving Handout. (Acrobat (PDF) 154kB Jun15 10)

## Teaching Notes and Tips

- Not all my students have had trigonometry so sometimes I have to have them just "black box" the cosine part of the equation. You could adapt the exercise by calculating the distance for them.
- I mention this in the exercise but they do need to make sure to convert degrees to radians before applying the cosine or it will not work.

## Assessment

I usually base my assessment on:

- The the quality and clarity of the spreadsheet they present.
- The quality of the answers to the critical thinking questions.