Real World Math: Space Lessons - Lunar Sports

One of the concepts discussed in the Lunar Field Trip activity is that the gravitational forces on the Moon are one-sixth that on Earth.  No doubt this would have an affect on daily routines for someone living on the Moon, but what about sports?  Lunar Sports is an activity that explores this question.

The Lunar Sports worksheet provides a format to record students’ physical abilities on the Earth and Moon.  The items have been left blank so that the students can brainstorm a list of exercises to try.  This may be dependent on age or resources, but horizontal and vertical jumping distances should be included.  Other suggestions may be the distance objects can be thrown, hit, or kicked, or the distance traveled by walking or running.  Let students use their imagination to come up with the list.  Now it’s time to collect and record data.  You may want to find a time you can use a gymnasium or athletic field.  Supply students with measuring tapes and/or mark off longer distances.  Customary or metric measure can be used.  Once the data has been recorded, have students apply a factor of six to find their lunar measures.  This will be even more meaningful if they are able to physically compare the distances once completed.

A 3D SketchUp model of Luna Stadium, as well as a separate Google Moon kmz file, is included for download.  The SketchUp version is easier to explore than the Google Moon version, but you should be able to zoom inside the stadium and look around with either.  There are set viewing scenes you can click on, in the SketchUp version.

An additional exercise that can be included is to have students research the current world records of track and field events and convert them to lunar numbers.  This could also be an introductory exercise for spreadsheets.  Have the students format the columns and find class averages.

Pursue other lines of thought with your students.  What would it be like to jump out of bed six times further?  How should rooms and hallways be constructed?  Would school bags ever be too heavy?

Helpful Links:

Objectives

  • Analyze the effects of low gravity environments on physical activity
  • Measure and record various types of physical activity
  • Write a function and apply a factor of 6 to data measurements

Student Worksheet


Astronomy, Physics
Data, Graphing & Statistics
K-6, Middle School, High School, Educator

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