Teachers, here you will find suggestions as how to use “‘Why Can’t I Jump Very High?’ – A Book About Gravity” in your classroom.  Science Square Publishing books try to get children thinking about science.  This provides for many teaching moments some of which are discussed here.  If you have additions and/or suggestions for this page or would like to share your own lesson plan based on the book, please feel free to write to us.

Reading Along

As you are reading along, questions are sure to come up about the content that may not be apparent to the student.  Some of those possibilities are dealt with here.  If the students do not ask the questions, do not hesitate to pose it to them.  The idea is to get them thinking about what they are reading.

For passage starting with:
“The larger the object’s mass…”
Possible questions
“What is mass?  How is mass different from weight?”
Possible responses
“Mass is amount of stuff something is made of.  The more stuff something is made of, the more mass it has.  Suppose everything in the world were made up of marbles.  In this case you would be made out of more marbles than a piece of paper because you have more mass than a piece of paper.
“Weight, on the other hand, is a measure of the force of gravity experienced by an object.  Weight can be calculated by multiplying an object’s mass by the value of gravity that the object is experiencing.  For example, Earth’s gravity has the value of about 10.  If you have a mass that has a value of 20, then your weight will have a value of 200.
“If you were out in space, where there is virtually no no force of gravity, your mass would remain the same but your weight would be zero.  You would be weightless!”

For passage starting with:
“If gravity stopped pulling…”
Possible questions
“Why/how would daily activities be interrupted?”
Possible responses
“Without gravity to keep us on the ground we would float around without much control over which direction we want to go in.  For example, without gravity trying to ride your bicycle would not get you anywhere since the wheels would just spin in the air without moving you forward.”

For passage starting with:
“As it is a pretty calm day…”
Possible questions
“What does wind have to do with the experiment? or How would wind affect the experiment?”
Possible responses
“By doing the experiment, we want to see how gravity affects falling things.  We want to make sure that the wind does not keep the paper ball from falling straight down because it would not be correct to compare something that fell straight down with something that did not.”
If you can find some things with a large difference in mass, which will not be affect by wind, repeat the experiment with that.

Lesson Plans

Weightlessness and Gravity – A simple lesson plan on what happens to the human body in microgravity.
Gravity Gets You Down – Students learn that without air resistance, all objects would fall with the same acceleration, regardless of mass. Air resistance, a type of friction, works against gravity to decrease the acceleration of a falling object.  Although it was created for 6 – 8th graders, there is no reason that this lesson plan could not be used at earlier grade levels.
What Goes Up – Students experiment with dropping different objects to see how gravity affects them, and learn what part wind has to play in it.

Links

Acceleration Due to Gravity – This covers the topic of acceleration due to gravity with several animations and examines freefall and the apparent weightlessness that goes along with it.
Gravity Chart – Create a chart of how your weight will change on different planets.
Why do astronauts float around inside the International Space Station? – A short video that helps students understand why astronauts seem to float inside the space station and how their floating is similar to riding an elevator.

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