Summer SAVY 2017, Session 3/Day 3- Computational Astrophysics (Rising 6th/7th)
Today in Computational Astrophysics, we made a lot of progress on our Solar System! We began with an activity that demonstrated why and how the Earth orbits the sun. In groups of two, one student acted as the sun and the other acted as the Earth. They were connected by a rope representing the force of gravity. Using this, the students explained precisely how it is that the sun’s gravitational force makes the Earth move in a circle. We explored what would happen if the force would shut off all of the sudden and several other scenarios! The biggest part of the day came at the end. The students combined everything we’ve learned all week (position, velocity, acceleration, mass, force, gravity) to make a program in which Mercury orbits the Sun! They played around with changing different properties of the orbit. Some even started adding more planets to their Solar System. I thought one of the coolest parts of today was seeing all of the students help each other with different pieces of code. A few even uploaded color-selecting programs they had made to our shared folder! I’m excited to see everyone start to build the whole Solar System starting tomorrow!