Physics KS3/GCSE: How big is one giant leap on the Moon?

Greg Foot investigates how high he can jump on Earth compared with how high he could jump on the surface of the Moon.

He demonstrates that both the Earth and the Moon exert a gravitational pull on all objects. Greg then compares the gravitational pull of the Moon, with a much smaller mass, with the gravitational pull of the Earth and models the effect of the Moon by using helium filled balloons.

The helium balloons reduce Greg’s weight to the same as he would experience on the surface of the Moon. He measures how high he can jump both with and without the helium balloons to show why the astronauts involved in the lunar landings could make such giant leaps for mankind.

Teacher Notes

Students could use this short film to learn the difference between mass and weight and that weight is a force that changes as gravity changes.

Simple experiments on the effect of gravity on weight, lift and buoyancy could be modelled by measuring changes in weight in a variety of masses when placed in fluids such as water.

Students could also investigate mass and distance and the inverse square law’s effect on the force of gravity. This would also be useful when learning about famous scientists and their work like Archimedes and Newton.

Curriculum Notes

These short films will be relevant for teaching physics at both KS3 and KS4 in England, Wales and Northern Ireland and National 4/5 in Scotland.

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