What is gravity? Gravity is a force between all objects that pulls them down towards the centre of the Earth. A gravitational force is usually exerted when a planet or other celestial body draws an object toward its centre. The larger the object, the more gravitational force they exert. The Earth’s gravity is what keeps you rooted to the ground and what keeps the moon orbiting the Earth. Without gravity we would not be here and neither would the moon. Without gravity, all of Dubai’s skyscrapers would be shooting off into space.
The force of gravity depends on two things viz. the mass of the two objects and the distance between them. As a result, the force of gravity is different on different planets. The moon also has a gravitational force but as its mass is less than that of the Earth, it is drawn towards the Earth and not the other way around. However, it is the gravity of the moon that causes tides in the oceans and to some extent the gravity of the Sun also influences them. It is the gravity of the Sun that keeps all the planets in their orbits and revolving. Technically speaking, the gravity of the moon is one-sixth that of the Earth. Therefore, you would weight one-sixth of what you do on Earth, on the moon. That is why you will have seen astronauts bouncing on the Earths surface while completing space walks rather than walking normally.
The force of the Earth’s gravity on an object is called its weight. When you stand on a weighing scale, the numbers that you read are numbers measuring the force of gravity upon yourself. Weight is a force and so it is measured in Newtons. Mass is related to the amount of matter in an object and so it is measured in kilograms. In the Middle East, it is common to confuse weight and mass. But we all tend to measure weight in kilograms which is scientifically incorrect.
It was an Indian mathematician and astronomer Bhaskaracharya who first observed that all objects exert a force over other objects and that if you release something it falls towards the Earth. Nearly 1000 years ago, he was inquisitive about why the moon orbited the Earth and how it never really moved closer or farther away. It was almost 500 years later that Sir Isaac Newton thought about the same questions and published his thoughts in a book called ‘The Law of Gravitation’. A few years this law was used to predict the existence of Neptune and in 1846, the planet was discovered as predicted.
The force of gravity is not nearly as simple as Bhaskaracharya and Newton depicted but way more complicated. Scientists such as Albert Einstein and Edwin Hubble built on their premise and educated the world about a whole new world of Gravity. The more man learned about gravity the more he was able to use its power and explore the Universe.
Scientists never stop asking questions and learning never stops. Even today, we have advanced concepts simplified and made into a concise and easy form for children of all ages to learn and understand. A brand that we all know and love Lego, has come up with an educational set that allows children to explore physical science in action. It engages elementary and middle school students in the GCC areas, in STEAM learning with hands-on learning in forces, motion and interactions. These are standards-aligned lessons that enhance students’ knowledge, skills, and confidence and help grow their love of learning. Through these lessons they take part in collaborative discussions when presenting and analyzing their solutions, thereby strengthening their communication skills. The LEGO® Education BricQ Motion Essential includes an experiment that is very commonly used in schools in the UAE. It is called the Gravity Car Derby. In this hands-on learning experiment, students are first required to build a Lego car without wheels and note down the effects of it being sent down a ramp. Here they learn about force, friction and gravity. They note down their observations to compare them to the next part of the experiment where they build a Lego car with wheels and roll it down the ramp in the same way. Now they also learn about weight, speed and distance. After these two experiments where the children have immense fun building with the LEGO® Education BricQ Motion Essential set and analysing the effects of the forces and motions. They learn about the concepts of gravity, inertia, safety etc. Just like these LEGO® Education BricQ Motion Essential has many sets that engage children in educative and enjoyable learning experiences.