A Cometary Cat

Yes! This video is exactly what it looks like. It is a cat in a cometary orbit around a star. It is also a major milestone in the Solar System simulation project in the Math ALIVE! (cue zombie music) class that I’ve been designing and teaching for One Spark Academy.

In the first five tutorials students learn about the connections among force, momentum, speed, and position – and write Scratch scripts to describe these connections in a concrete mathematical manner.  In the sixth tutorial, we introduce gravity in the form of a sun that pulls on a cat.

In case you were wondering, this cat is the semi-official mascot of Scratch, and the default appearance for the first Scratch object in every project.

The sun in the center of this sim exerts a gravitational pull on the cat. The gravitational pull is a force that affects the momentum that determines the speed that changes the cat’s position in a fairly authentic manner.

I’m excited.

The next step is to generalize this code. Rather than one cat that is affected by one sun, you’ll have many objects each of which is affected (gravitationally) by every other object on the screen.

I’m excited for this too.

– Tim