Geography Functional Chapter 1 Experiments 4A 4B Force of Gravity

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  • Experiment 4A: a piece of iron, sheet of paper, piece of cork, a feather, a plumbline, and Newton's tube
  • Experiment 4B: two equal sheets of paper


  • Teacher should have conducted the First Great Lesson: God Who Has No Hands/The Universe Story before beginning these experiments.
  • Chapter 1 of Functional Geography is Formation of the Earth and includes Impressionistic Charts 1-6
  • Functional geography curriculum focuses on a presentation of the world in terms of the active and functioning processes affecting the earth as a planet in the sun's family. Geography examines the social and cultural contexts of the world while functional geography explores the geological and astronomical contexts of the earth in the universe.
  • When we teach functional geography to the child, we are both performing and recording with words and pictures the forces affecting our planet earth.
  • Functional Geography is presented to the child as an experiment which isolates a concept and then an impressionistic chart which makes a visual impression.


Newton also proposed laws of attraction between all bodies in the universe. This law states that every body in the universe attracts every other body with a force that is proportional to their mass and inversely proportional to the distance between them.

EXPERIMENT 4A: Force of Gravity (This experience shows not only speed with which objects fall, but also that objects fall in a vertical line.)

1. Hold in one hand, the plumpline and in one hand, the first four materials (iron, sheet of paper, piece of cork, feather). Tand on a chair and let the articles fall all at once.

2. Take the Newton's tube, holding it vertically, and then turn it over rapidly.

Record you observation:

(A. Gravity is the force that attracts all bodies towards the earth. The force of gravity is the same for equal weights of different materials. The direction of gravity is that indicated by the plumbline.

B. Weight is the result of the action of gravity on a body. It may be said that: the force of gravity increases gradually as the bodies draw near the surface of the earth.)


(The force of gravity increases as the body nears the earth. Since weight and gravity are linked together, the weight of a body increases gradually as the body nears the earth. The weight of a body decreases gradually as the body moves away from the earth.)

EXPERIMENT 4B: Force of Gravity (This experience shows that distribution of weight affects the speed at which an object will fall.)

1. Crumple one of the sheets of paper into a hard ball. Stand on a chair. Holding the flat sheet of paper and the ball of paper, drop both at the same time.

Record your observation:

(The weight of the two bodies (the sheets of paper) is equal. The sheet crumpled into a ball falls more rapidly because it has a smaller surface than the flat sheet: that is, less air exerts pressure on it. The resistance met by the sheet of crumpled-up paper is less than that met by the flat sheet.)



In this chart, the earth is no longer along, it is with other planets, which also receive light and heat from the sun. It is a big family called the solar system: Mercury, venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune, and Pluto. Each planet keeps in a fixed orbit around the sun. Each planet received a name when it was discovered (Point out and name each planet.)

On Chart 2, the planets are represented in proportionate size and distance from one another and from the sun. This time the sun is represented with a dot. This is because we cannot represent its actual size in relation to the planets on this chart.

Control Of Error

Points Of Interest

The classified nomenclature is usually presented before the impressionistic charts and after the experiments, but can also be parallel to the charts. Since the classified nomenclature can be very long, it is not necessary to present all of the classified nomenclature before beginning the charts.


  • The Montessori methodology first gives the concept of the formation of the earth through experiments. These experiments are the key to giving the child the concrete verification that the universe is not a static universe, but one in which elements are in motion.


Usually, the teacher presents the experiment first, and the the child does it independently using the direction card for directions. With the older children, the experiments are presented in a more scientific way.