Grade Level

High School




H Perry Hatchfield, Nifemi Mabayoje

Lesson Summary

Star cluster Westerlund 2

Bring astronomy into the physics classroom with this lesson, in which students apply Newton’s first and third laws of motion and the Law of Universal Gravitation to explore the phenomenon of runaway stars. This activity involves a demonstration to model a current hypothesis of runaway star formation.

Upon completion of this lesson, students will be able to:

  • Apply Newton’s Universal Law of Gravitation to explain the effect of the force between two objects on each object’s motion.
  • Explain runaway stars phenomenon using Newton’s first law and Newton’s third law.





Science and Engineering Practices:


MA Science and Technology/Engineering (2016):

HS-PS2-10(MA), HS-PS2-4

NGSS (2013):


Common Core Math/Language Arts Standards:



Newton’s first law of motion, Newton’s third law of motion, binary stars, runaway stars, star clusters, universal gravitation

Educator SoundBites

This lesson was a great opportunity to tie together our forces unit. Student were able to apply their knowledge to a novel problem and were also excited by the connection to astronomy. –Shannon Morey, Abbott Lawrence Academy at Lawrence High School

Lesson Documents


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Download PDF View Google Doc


Download PDF View Google Doc

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