After 20 years of orbiting Saturn and making wonderful discoveries about the planet and its moons, the Cassini-Huygens probe was recently sent on its dramatic last mission, and deliberately crashed into the planet!
This activity uses the exciting space mission to support children to understand the concept of orbits (of planets, moons and satellites) and to link this to their developing understanding of gravity.
What is an orbit? And how does the force of gravity - which makes things fall - keep things in orbit?
Throughout, children will relate advances in technology to advances in our understanding of Saturn. This activity could form part of an introduction to the solar system and provide a link to the Forces Programme of Study. Many children will be surprised to discover that the Sun itself is in orbit around the centre of the Milky Way galaxy.
- explain their understanding of orbits in the context of planets, moons and satellites
- describe the link between orbits and gravity (in simple terms)
- develop some realisation of the vast scales in the universe
- describe how modern technology such as space probes and powerful telescopes contribute to developing scientific evidence
These ASE resources were developed by Felix Levinson and Sharon Harris.