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Jumping on Another Planet

English
  • Planétarium Rio Tinto Alcan
The planet Mars
Photo: NASA and The Hubble Heritage Team
The Mars hoax

Tabs group

Description

Description of the activity

Students are given measurement factors related to the surface gravity of the Sun and planets. Using this information, they measure and compare the height of their jumps and their weight on these different worlds.

Objective

By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

  • Calculate how high they’d jump in an environment where the gravity is different from on Earth.
  • Calculate how much they’d weigh in an environment where the gravity is different from on Earth.

Equipment needed by the student

  • A copy of the enclosed student handout Jumping on Another Planet
  • Metre sticks, measuring tape (one per team)
  • Pencils, paper
  • Calculator (optional)

Preparation

The day before the activity, ask students to weigh themselves on a scale at home and to write down the results.

Make enough copies of the student handout Jumping on Another Planet for each team.

Achievement

  1. Invite a team of three students to the front of the class to demonstrate the procedures.
  2. Ask Student 1 to do a standing jump (feet together, knees bent). This is an example of how high a person can jump on a planet (in this case, Earth).
  3. Give Student 2 a metre stick to hold vertically with one end touching the floor. Student 3 will kneel down to see the metre stick clearly and measure how high Student 1 can jump. Have Student 1 jump again and Student 3 record the height.
  4. Ask students to speculate on the factors that may influence the height of a jump (gravity, force).
  5. Send the teams to their work areas. Students must write down the height of their jumps. Using the table in the student handout, they’ll calculate how high they could jump on the Sun and on the other planets. They’ll also calculate their weight on these worlds..

Credits

Adapted from How High Can You Jump on Another Planet? Reproduced with the permission of Project Pulsar, St. Louis Science Center, 5050 Oakland Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63110.

Category of activity

  • Preparatory activity

Sub-category of activity

  • Class activity

Grade level

  • Elementary cycle three
  • Secondary cycle one
  • Secondary cycle two

Number of students per group

Three

Duration

A 60-minute period

Activity Sheets

Jumping on Another Planet[PDF - 410.91 KB - 6 pages]

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