Orbital motion, natural and artificial satellites Orbital motion, natural and artificial satellites


Gravity provides the force that allows planets and satellites (both natural and artificial) to maintain their circular orbits.

Students should be able to describe the similarities and distinctions between the planets, their moons, and artificial satellites.

(HT only) Students should be able to explain qualitatively how:

  • (HT only) for circular orbits, the force of gravity can lead to changing velocity but unchanged speed
  • (HT only) for a stable orbit, the radius must change if the speed changes.

WS 1.3 -Appreciate the power and limitations of science and consider any ethical issues which may arise

WS 1.4 Explain everyday and technological applications of science; evaluate associated personal, social, economic and environmental implications; and make decisions based on the evaluation of evidence and arguments.

WS 3.5 -Interpreting observations and other data (presented in verbal, diagrammatic, graphical, symbolic or numerical form), including identifying patterns and trends, making inferences and drawing conclusions.

WS 4.4 -Use prefixes and powers of ten for orders of magnitude (eg tera, giga, mega, kilo, centi, milli, micro and nano).

MS 1c - Use ratios, fractions and percentages

MS 2c Construct and interpret frequency tables and diagrams, bar charts and histograms

MS 4a Translate information between graphical and numeric form







Asthma attack risk for selected student?