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Upper El (9/14-9/18): Gravity Beyond Earth!

Our Upper El group fell into a nice rhythm this week in regards to their story writing, and we furthered our exploration into understanding gravity and gravitational energy in our Universe!

We took a break from talking about setting in our stories and shifted our focus to the plot. What is the one goal of the main character, and do they succeed? That was the question we worked from, and then, once students had their plan, they threw a few obstacles in the way of their character's path. Students also got to watch an animated "short" to illustrate our lesson on writing stories. The video is called "Coin Operated," and you can find it on YouTube (5 minutes long). Everyone cheered at the ending!

Last week we explored where we see the effects of gravity and gravitational energy on our amazing planet. This week, we took that idea beyond Earth! We explored the objects in our solar system and our galaxy. Planets and moons, the asteroid belt, stars, our galaxy, and students really enjoyed talking about black holes!

We answered the question of why our planet doesn't get pulled into our Sun, and how orbiting works. The idea of "falling forever."

Finally, we used the pendulums we made (I promise pictures next week!!) to gain a further understanding of potential energy, kinetic energy, conservation of energy, and friction. 

Next week we will finish up our unit on gravitational energy and use our pendulums to make some art!

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