Gravity and Kinetic Energy

Grade 8

In the Gravity and Kinetic Energy Course, students explore speed, acceleration, gravity, and collision physics. They engage in an engineering challenge to design a helmet that will provide protection during impact.

Investigation 1: Acceleration—Students see an unprotected “bean brain” fall to the floor and start to think about speed, acceleration, energy transfer, and collisions.

Investigation 2: Force of Gravity—Students learn about the difference between mass and weight then compare these two measurements on different planets to refine their definition of gravity.

Investigation 3: Energy and Collisions—Students do an activity in which they review then analyze data from different collision scenarios in two ways to draw conclusions about the effect of mass and speed on collisions.

Investigation 4: Collision Engineering—Students learn that increasing the time it takes for an object to change speed in a collision results in less force being applied to the object. Using this principle, they design a protective helmet for a model head.