Johannes Kepler (1571–1630) is remembered for laying firm mathematical foundations for modern astronomy through his study of the motions of the planets. His third law compares the motion of the various planets. Each of them is characterized by two quantities in particular—the mean distance from the sun and the time of revolution around the sun. Are these two quantities related? The ultimate goal of this activity is to discover the power function that best matches the data.
Before the Activity
Download the attached PDF and look over the information on the first two pages. Download and distribute the attached .tns file for use during the activity. A .tns file containing expected student results is also available for download.
During the Activity
Discuss the material from the activity pages with students as needed.
After the Activity
Encourage students to summarize what they have learned from completing the activity. If desired, discuss the extensions with students.