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Artificial Satellites

Key Stage 3, Science, QCA Scheme of work

Unit 9L.8 Gravity and Space (Year 9)  

Prior Learning

In the previous lesson students should have learned about the solar system being held in place by gravitational attraction and that natural satellites orbit.


By the end of the lesson:

All students will know that:

Most students will know that:

Some students will know that:


Challenge the students to answer the question: "How many things can you think of that we use artificial satellites for?".

Satellite examples could include weather observations (monitoring weather and climate), TV broadcast, telecommunications, scientific research, environmental monitoring, surveillance (spying!/military intelligence), astronomical (telescopes and measurements from outside our atmosphere), navigational (e.g.GPS)

Main Body

Recap from last lesson on natural satellites to allow students to remember what a satellite is.

Get students to try making their own satellite using the template supplied.

Meteorology from space
Satellites have been used for weather observations since 1959 when Vanguard 2 was launched.
Use link to list some of the things that are observed from space.

Types of Satellite
There are two types of satellite orbit; polar orbiting and geostationary. Both are useful for meteorology and other things


Get students to use the artificial satellites worksheet to demonstrate they understand the differences between polar orbiting and geostationary satellites.