What is matter and what is energy?
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What is matter and what is energy?
This lesson is meant as an introduction to Gravity Simulator. This simple, accessible simulator allows your students to observe how planetary orbits and other gravitational phenomena work.
In the picture, you can see fire, which is a chemical reaction that produces energy, even though fire by itself is not energy.
Use your own sources and the ones below to teach the concept of energy to your students:
Image Source: Midsummer Pyre, Wikimedia Commons
Matter has four basic forms - gas, liquid, solid and plasma. There are other states as well such as the Bose-Einstein condensate (only occurs in extreme cold) but the four basic forms are all around us in our everyday lives.
The picture demonstrates that the difference between different states depends on how closely the particles of the matter are together, so liquid has more volume than the matter as a solid because the particles are not as close to each other. (Additional note: a well-known exception to this is water and ice, because ice has particles that are not as close as in water, and thus ice has more volume)
Use your own sources and the ones below to teach the concept of matter to your students:
Image Source: States of Matter, Wikimedia Commons
This is just a simple introduction for the students so they know what to expect from the simulator. It’s a good idea to try out the simulator on your own before this lesson, so you can help the students if they are having trouble.
Learn how Gravity Simulator works!
After you’ve launched Gravity Simulator, this is the main screen. Your students should select the load from code option, but below are descriptions for each option for your convenience.
Have each student select the Sun Earth and Moon scenario by clicking the name and then clicking load.
Below are instructions for how to add names to objects in the game (these instructions assume you’ve loaded the Sun Earth and Moon scenario). This can make the simulation more comprehensible. Additionally, it also teaches how several tools of the simulator work: have each student complete each step according to your instructions.
To add names to objects, you have to do the following:
If students are having trouble, be sure to help them out. Move on to the next task only after everyone has successfully added names to their objects.
This task is more difficult than the previous one, but there is no hurry. As long as you reserve 5-10 minutes for the last two slides - which contain discussion topics and tasks - feel free to let the students get acquainted with the simulator for the rest of the time.
To build your own orbit, you need to follow a few steps.
Precise but difficult: This involves changing the values heading and speed in the dialog box as you have the planet selected. With sufficient speed and the right heading, the planet will start to orbit the star. Only experimentation will make you understand how these values work.
Imprecise but easy: This involves simply using the graphic user interface. First, you have to make sure you have the right trail settings: in the bottom right corner, select the second option from the top, and make sure that the options trails on and ellipses instead of trails are enabled. Second, you have to let the planet gather speed: you know this is happening as it starts to move towards the star. Then, before the planet hits the star, pause the simulation by pressing the pause button in the top left corner. Now, select the planet and drag it until its predicted orbit completely avoids the star. Finally, resume the simulation by pressing the pause button again.
Tasks for students who are ready: Some students might be finished sooner than others. In that case, they should keep on playing the simulator on their own, trying out the different features and seeing what you can do in the program.
What is the definition of energy?
Energy is defined as the capacity of a physical system to perform work.
Is fire energy?
No. Fire is a chemical reaction which by itself is not energy, but transforms some of the energy in the chemical bonds of matter into heat energy.
Can you name at least two types of energy?
For example: kinetic, heat, potential, nuclear.
What are the four main types of matter? Can you give an example of each type?
Plasma, gas, liquid, solid. Respectively: lightning, steam, water, ice (all but lightning are different forms of the same type of matter in this case).