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This interactive simulation helps students visualize the gravitational force that two objects exert on each other. It features two spherical objects exerting a gravitational pull on each other.  The mass of either sphere can be changed from 1-100 kg. Watch the force vectors change as you change the mass. The simulation was designed to promote two basic concepts: 1) All interacting objects exert a gravitational pull, even if it is very small; 2) The magnitude of the gravitational attraction depends on the mass of the interacting objects and their distance apart.

Editor's Note: Scroll down on the page to find supplementary lesson plans and activities, such as a Calculations Lab, Clicker questions, and quantitative graph building.

This item is part of a larger collection of simulations developed by the Physics Education Technology project (PhET). The simulations are animated, interactive, and game-like environments in which students learn through exploration. All of the simulations are freely available from the PhET web site for incorporation into classes.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Gravity
= Universal Gravitation
- High School
- Middle School
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Interactive Simulation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
• Currently 0.0/5

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Intended Users:
Learner
Educator
Formats:
application/java
text/html
Access Rights:
Free access
Restriction:
Keywords:
force of gravity, gravitational force, gravity simulation, interactive multimedia
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created November 12, 2010 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
December 27, 2018 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
August 31, 2010

### Next Generation Science Standards

#### Earth's Place in the Universe (MS-ESS1)

Students who demonstrate understanding can: (6-8)
• Develop and use a model to describe the role of gravity in the motions within galaxies and the solar system. (MS-ESS1-2)

#### Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions (HS-PS2)

Students who demonstrate understanding can: (9-12)
• Use mathematical representations of Newton's Law of Gravitation and Coulomb's Law to describe and predict the gravitational and electrostatic forces between objects. (HS-PS2-4)

#### Earth's Place in the Universe (HS-ESS1)

Students who demonstrate understanding can: (9-12)
• Use mathematical or computational representations to predict the motion of orbiting objects in the solar system. (HS-ESS1-4)

#### Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)

Forces and Motion (PS2.A)
• For any pair of interacting objects, the force exerted by the first object on the second object is equal in strength to the force that the second object exerts on the first, but in the opposite direction (Newton's third law). (6-8)
Types of Interactions (PS2.B)
• Forces at a distance are explained by fields (gravitational, electric, and magnetic) permeating space that can transfer energy through space. Magnets or electric currents cause magnetic fields; electric charges or changing magnetic fields cause electric fields. (9-12)
The Universe and its Stars (ESS1.A)
• Patterns of the apparent motion of the sun, the moon, and stars in the sky can be observed, described, predicted, and explained with models. (6-8)
Earth and the Solar System (ESS1.B)
• The solar system consists of the sun and a collection of objects, including planets, their moons, and asteroids that are held in orbit around the sun by its gravitational pull on them. (6-8)
• Kepler's laws describe common features of the motions of orbiting objects, including their elliptical paths around the sun. Orbits may change due to the gravitational effects from, or collisions with, other objects in the solar system. (9-12)

#### Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)

Patterns (K-12)
• Different patterns may be observed at each of the scales at which a system is studied and can provide evidence for causality in explanations of phenomena. (9-12)
Cause and Effect (K-12)
• Cause and effect relationships may be used to predict phenomena in natural systems. (6-8)
Scale, Proportion, and Quantity (3-12)
• Time, space, and energy phenomena can be observed at various scales using models to study systems that are too large or too small. (6-8)
Scientific Knowledge Assumes an Order and Consistency in Natural Systems (1-12)
• Science assumes that objects and events in natural systems occur in consistent patterns that are understandable through measurement and observation. (6-8)
• Scientific knowledge is based on the assumption that natural laws operate today as they did in the past and they will continue to do so in the future. (9-12)

#### NGSS Science and Engineering Practices (K-12)

Analyzing and Interpreting Data (K-12)
• Analyzing data in 6–8 builds on K–5 and progresses to extending quantitative analysis to investigations, distinguishing between correlation and causation, and basic statistical techniques of data and error analysis. (6-8)
• Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for phenomena. (6-8)
• Analyzing data in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to introducing more detailed statistical analysis, the comparison of data sets for consistency, and the use of models to generate and analyze data. (9-12)
• Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution. (9-12)

#### NGSS Nature of Science Standards (K-12)

Analyzing and Interpreting Data (K-12)
• Analyzing data in 6–8 builds on K–5 and progresses to extending quantitative analysis to investigations, distinguishing between correlation and causation, and basic statistical techniques of data and error analysis. (6-8)
• Analyzing data in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to introducing more detailed statistical analysis, the comparison of data sets for consistency, and the use of models to generate and analyze data. (9-12)

### AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

#### 4. The Physical Setting

4G. Forces of Nature
• 9-12: 4G/H1. Gravitational force is an attraction between masses. The strength of the force is proportional to the masses and weakens rapidly with increasing distance between them.
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

AIP Format
(PhET, Boulder, 2007), WWW Document, (https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/gravity-force-lab).
AJP/PRST-PER
PhET Simulation: Gravity Force Lab (PhET, Boulder, 2007), <https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/gravity-force-lab>.
APA Format
PhET Simulation: Gravity Force Lab. (2010, August 31). Retrieved May 28, 2024, from PhET: https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/gravity-force-lab
Chicago Format
PhET. PhET Simulation: Gravity Force Lab. Boulder: PhET, August 31, 2010. https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/gravity-force-lab (accessed 28 May 2024).
MLA Format
PhET Simulation: Gravity Force Lab. Boulder: PhET, 2007. 31 Aug. 2010. 28 May 2024 <https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/gravity-force-lab>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {PhET Simulation: Gravity Force Lab}, Publisher = {PhET}, Volume = {2024}, Number = {28 May 2024}, Month = {August 31, 2010}, Year = {2007} }
Refer Export Format

%T PhET Simulation: Gravity Force Lab %D August 31, 2010 %I PhET %C Boulder %U https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/gravity-force-lab %O application/java

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source %D August 31, 2010 %T PhET Simulation: Gravity Force Lab %I PhET %V 2024 %N 28 May 2024 %8 August 31, 2010 %9 application/java %U https://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/gravity-force-lab

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Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Style.org: Electronic References.

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