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Basketball and Gravity. Objective: Students will apply what they have learned about gravity and free falling objects to the sport of basketball. What is Gravity???. Force that exists between any two objects that have mass.

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Basketball and Gravity


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    1. Basketball and Gravity Objective: Students will apply what they have learned about gravity and free falling objects to the sport of basketball.

    2. What is Gravity??? • Force that exists between any two objects that have mass. • Gravity is the pulling force (pulling towards the center of the Earth or the force pulling objects together).

    3. Gravity and Basketball • Where do you aim a basketball when taking a free throw? • Do you aim toward the rim, the backboard, or the basket? • Toward the basketball or the backboard

    4. Activity • You will work in groups of 4 • Your group will work on steps 1 and 2 of the activity sheet. • Group # is identified by the index card on your desk. • Every member needs to participate in the activity. • Read over Steps 1 and 2 • 10 – 15 minutes will be given for this activity.

    5. What does the path of the ball look like?

    6. What causes the ball to fall? • GRAVITY

    7. Free Throw • When you shoot a free throw the path of the ball is an arc. • Gravity causes the ball to fall as it travels. • Parabolais the term used for the arc created by the act of gravity on the basketball.

    8. Activity • Continue with step #3 • Students should throw until each member of the team has made a basket directly and as a banked shot. • 10 – 15 minutes will be given for this activity.

    9. Tossed Basket Banked Basket How are the two paths of the tossed balls different?

    10. Space Basketball • What would be different in playing basketball in space? • Astronauts would not be able to make shots that require arcs. • Arcs are impossible in space because of the free fall environment.

    11. Free FallWhat is this????? • Free fall is motion with no acceleration other than that provided by gravity. • Free fall is experienced in space or on the shuttle.

    12. Space Background • Astronauts in the space shuttle are seen “floating” about with no floor to stand on. • The same gravity force that keeps you in your chair also keeps the astronauts, and the Moon, in orbit. • If Earth’s gravity were turned off, orbiting astronauts, and everything else held by Earth, would fly off into interplanetary space.

    13. Why do objects float in space? • The shuttle is falling toward Earth just as you would be if your chair suddenly broke. • The shuttle is traveling so fast that Earth curves away from it as it falls. • Floating is due to falling in space…….8 km/sec or 5 miles/sec

    14. Step 4 • Now imagine playing basketball while circling Earth in the space shuttle. The spacecraft and the astronauts are falling around Earth at the same rate. As a result, everything inside the shuttle seems to float. • Predict: Could an astronaut make a banked shot in space? • Could an astronaut toss the ball directly into the hoop? • What kind of trick shots could an astronaut make?

    15. Homework • Find one example in your daily lives in which you use the arc of a falling object to complete the task……