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Lesson Title: Fighting Gravity - A Matter of Balance
May 11, 2012

Unit: Physical Science - Gravity

Grade Levels: 4-6

Connection To Curriculum: Science, Mathematics and Technology

Teacher Prep Time: 1 hour

Lesson Time Needed: 2 hours

Complexity Basic

Keywords: gravity, center of mass, center of gravity, balance, weight


Construction paper
Pencil with flat eraser
Modeling clay
Large binder clips
Long balloons
Dixie cups
Straight drinking straws
Masking tape

This lesson guide integrates a series of activities highlighting what must be done to overcome effects of gravity for Earth orbit.

Students will:
• Locate the center of gravity of an object.
• Experiment with designs for a heavy lift vehicle.

First page of Fighting Gravity

Lesson Guide
Fighting Gravity Lesson
[96KB PDF file]



Lesson Activities and Sequence
The suggested sequence starts by introducing students to the concept of balance and then applies it to rocket launches.

  1. Fluttering Fun, Point of Balance
    Students study balance using an irregular shape and paperclips.
    Keywords: gravity, balance, center of mass, center of gravity, weight
  2. Heavy Lifting
    Students configure balloons to carry a load of paperclips to the ceiling.
    Keywords: friction, gravity, inertia, energy, microgravity

National Standards:

National Science Education Standards, NSTA
Science as Inquiry
• Skills necessary to become independent inquirers about the natural world.

Physical Science
• Motions and forces.
• Transfer of energy.

Science in Personal and Social Perspectives
• Science and technology in society.


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Page Last Updated: July 28th, 2013
Page Editor: NASA Administrator