Projectile and Satellite Orbits
This activity has benefited from input through a review and suggestion process.
This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process as a part of an activity development workshop. Workshop participants were provided with a set of criteria against which they evaluated each others' activities. For information about the criteria used for this review, see http://serc.carleton.edu/sp/compadre/devactivities/reviewcriteria.html.
This page first made public: Jul 31, 2007
This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project
This series of interactive lecture-demonstration questions provides a probe of student understanding of fundamental concepts in gravity. There are two questions about basic concepts in satellite orbits. The final question is about the full satellite orbits and the influence of the initial velocity on the shape of the orbit. A conceptual understanding of the properties of orbit can be generalized to help students analyze a large number of different satellite-orbit types.
Context for Use
Setting: Active lecture question or workshop activity.
Time required: 15 minutes
Special equipment: computer with projector for instructor
Pre-requisite knowledge: basic mechanics - Newton's laws.
Description and Teaching Materials
Gravity Discussion and Applet Instructions (Microsoft Word 25kB Jul23 07)
Another simulation on Projectile Motion can be found in the PhET collection.
Teaching Notes and Tips
References and Resources
Physlet Physics: Interactive Illustrations, Explorations and Problems for Introductory Physics - Wolfgang Christian, Mario Belloni, Davidson College. Publisher: Addison-Wesley. Illustration 12.1 on CD.
Physlets Resource Page