Lesson 3: Your weight on other planets


This activity requires approximately one 30-minute classes

  • 1 class to work with the applet and complete the student worksheet


Identify and control major variables in their investigations (e.g., predict what variables might affect the size of craters on the moon, using a flour and marble simulation)
Draw a conclusion, based on evidence gathered through research and observation, that answers an initial question (e.g., conclude that simulated flour craters are deeper and wider when the marble is heavier or is dropped from greater heights)
Describe the physical characteristics of components of the solar system - specifically, the sun, planets, moons, comets, asteroids, and meteors

General Objectives

Through this lesson, students will become more familar with the physical characteristics of the nine planets specifically which characteristics affect a person's weight on a given planet.

Lesson Overview

The lesson involves having students work individually with the Your Weight on the Planets applet to observe planetary data and make educated guesses and predictions as to what their weight would be on the Moon and on the other planets of the solar system.

Materials and Resources

Nota : This page contains documents for which the access may require a particular software. If the software is not installed, you can download it and follow the instructions for installation.


  • density
  • mass

Developing the Lesson

Explain to the students that this activity will help them learn how to interpret information and make educated guesses and predictions based on that information.

  1. Begin with focus questions...
    • What gives us our weight?
    • What does it mean to be weightless?
    • What unique physical atributes does Earth have that contributes to our weight?
  2. Introduce students to the applet and its functionality
  3. Distribute student worksheet
  4. Monitor student progress with the applet and intervene when students appear to be having difficulties
  5. After it appears as thought all students have completed the worksheet begin the closure activity


As a closure activity, the teacher should initiate a discussion as to the students finding and their ability to accurately predict their weight on the different planets.


Student worksheets should be evaluated for completeness of planetary data, reasons for weight guesses, and insightful responses as to what students were able to take away from this activity.