Universal Law of Gravity

Does gravity act upon all objects equally, or do the properties (like mass, shape) of the objects come into play?

Concept: Gravity is an attractive force and depends upon the mass of objects. The acceleration due to gravity is constant for all falling objects. Mass affects size/amount of gravity but all objects accelerate at the same rate due to gravity.

Guiding Question: How does gravity pull on all masses and what affects does it have on the masses?

Although gravity accelerates all objects at the same rate near the Earth’s surface (9.8m/s2), the force due to gravity does not pull on all objects equally. The mass of the objects and the distance between objects determine the force. The factors of air resistance and surface area will also affect the rate an object falls toward Earth when not in a vacuum.


Notes / Reading RESOURCEs

Textbook pgs. 384-388.pdf
Newton’s Law of Gravity Article
Elephant and Feather Air Resistance Article
Dangerous Pennies Article
Gravity 101 Article
Motion and Free Falling Objects Article

Simulations / LABS

Paper Activity

Paper Drop - Crumpled vs. Non-Crumpled.mov

Gravity Force Lab

GoMotion Lab: Falling Tray

Falling Tray.MOV

The graph below is for the distance the tray travels over the amount of time it takes to hit the floor.



Forces on a Skydiver

Feather and Ball

Penny Drop

Forces in Action - Speed of a Skydiver

Misconceptions About Falling Objects


gravity - A force of attraction between objects that is due to their masses.

air resistance - the fluid friction experienced by objects falling through the air; frictional force air exerts on a moving object; acts opposite in direction to the object's motion

vacuum - an empty space with no air

velocity - speed in a given direction

terminal velocity - constant velocity of a falling object when the force of air resistance equals the force of gravity

free fall - the motion of a falling object when the only force acting on it is gravity (no air resistance)

universal law of gravitation (gravity) - every object in the universe is attracted to every other object by gravity; the force of gravity acts between all objects in the universe

acceleration - the rate at which velocity changes


Click the icon above.

Code: 172231 and 200619

Click on the Quizlet icons above to practice the vocabulary for this unit in different ways.


Mr De Felice - Skydiving