Earn your M.Ed. online with Concordia University. Scholarships now available.
 
|
 

Weightlessness and Gravity

Grade Levels: 3 - 6

Background Information

When we work and play on Earth, we are influenced by the pull of gravity. Gravity actually helps make our jobs easier to perform. Not so in a spacecraft. Astronauts have found that working in a weightless environment requires more energy.

Astronauts working in their spacecraft found that locomotion was more difficult. Bending down to pick up items wasn't as easy as they thought. Straightening themselves back up in a cumbersome space suit added to their difficulty. The astronauts continue to learn with each mission, resulting in improvements and changes in space suits and equipment.

What happens to objects in a "weightless" environment? Does water drip down or float up? How about food? Could this be dangerous? What does this mean in terms of planning and preparation prior to flight? See if you can find out more about how astronauts drink and wash in space. Write NASA, if you like. Scientists use the term microgravity to describe the small amount of weight people and objects actually have in space. This may be a new word to define for your vocabulary List. Think about the pull of gravity in the following investigation.

Objectives

  • Students will learn about the effects of weightlessness on humans and objects in space.
  • Students will conduct a hands-on experiment to discover the benefits of gravity.

Materials

  • 30 marbles
  • Large plastic milk container (rinsed and dried)
  • Scissors
  • Wide Rubber Band

Procedures

  1. Hang the plastic milk container by cutting and tying one end of the rubber band to the handle and the other end to a hook on the wall.
  2. Fill the container with ten of the marbles.
  3. Watch and observe the rubber band. What happens?
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3, adding another ten marbles. Then add the final ten marbles and watch what happens.
  5. Conduct a class discussion using the following questions:
    • What happens to the rubber band? Why?
    • How does this show the pull of gravity?
    • How do you think weightlessness changes your body? Your height? Your appearance?
    • Did you know weightlessness can make your shoes get loose and your waist smaller?

Excerpted from Science Teacher's Almanac by Julia Spencer Moutran.

Free 7-Day Trial for TeacherVision®

Sign up for a free trial and get access
to our huge library of teaching materials!

Start Trial

Highlights

What's New

Why educators choose Concordia University — Portland Online:

Back to School Headquarters
It's time to go Back to School! Feeling unprepared? We have you covered! Check out our very best resources and advice for New Teachers (applicable for the new and experienced), as well as Bulletin Board ideas, Icebreakers, Open House materials, and general Classroom Management tips for a successful new school year.

Free Gift with Newsletter Sign-Up
Do you receive our free newsletters? We send out seasonal content tie-ins, topical resources, and daily activities. And now when you sign up for any TeacherVision newsletter, we'll send you a packet of our most popular back-to-school essentials as a free gift!

September Calendar of Events
September is full events that you can incorporate into your standard curriculum. Our Educators' Calendar outlines activities for each event, including: Labor Day (9/7), Patriot Day (9/11), Grandparents Day (9/13), Rosh Hashanah (begins sundown 9/13), Hispanic Heritage Month (9/15-10/15), Constitution Week (9/17-23), Yom Kippur (begins 9/22), Autumn (begins 9/23), Ancestor Appreciation Day (begins 9/27), and Banned Books Week (9/27-10/3). Plus, celebrate Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and Library Card Sign-Up Month and all September long!

Discounts for Teachers
Start the new school year with cash in your pocket! We have some great ways to save money on the supplies that keep your classroom running: Money-Saving Tips for Teachers and Free & Cheap Rewards for Students. Plus, check out our Discounts for Teachers so you can save on office supplies, clothing, books, crafts and fabric, travel, and more!