Using Dillon Berger’s tweet about Mars to talk about polar coordinates with my kids

I saw another great tweet from Dillon Berger yesterday:

After seeing it I thought that talking about the orbits of the Earth and Mars would make for a great project with the boys today. We started with some basic ideas and the kids actually had some ideas that related to Kepler’s Laws, which was super fun:

Next we moved to the computer to look at Berger’s tweet and see what he boys had to say about it:

Now we went back to the white board to talk about representing the orbits with polar coordinates. My younger son is just learning about polar coordinates now and I started the conversation here a bit too quickly, I think, but even with the bad start hopefully we had a productive conversation:

Finally, we went back to the computer to look at a simplified program illustrating what the orbit of Mars looks like when viewed from the Earth.

This project was really fun – I’m really grateful that people like Dillon Berger share so many amazing ideas about math and physics on twitter. All of that sharing makes finding fun projects to do with kids so much easier!

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