How is gravity like a magnet? That's what RHMS grade eight students are investigating through a number of experiments involving iron fillings and magnets.
Approximately 14 billion years ago, all matter and energy that currently occupies space exploded from a single point in space. Using iron fillings in a single clump, in the middle of a pan, the magnets were moved in a circular motion above (and not attracting the iron) to simulate an orbital motion.
Meanwhile, students also had an opportunity to model the solar system. Like all stars, the star itself is the first form from the cosmic dust. Eventually, the planets and other objects orbiting the star will form as it begins to pull everything into orbit around it.
With this knowledge, students held the magnet above the pan, and using a consistent circular motion, they gathered the dispersed iron filings to the centre until all the loose iron was collected into a clump.