HS-ESS1-4: Orbital Motions

Use mathematical or computational representations to predict the motion of orbiting objects in the solar system. (Scale, Proportion, and Quantity)

Clarification Statement: Emphasis is on Newtonian gravitational laws governing orbital motions, which apply to human-made satellites as well as planets and moons.

Assessment Boundary: Mathematical representations for the gravitational attraction of bodies and Kepler’s Laws of orbital motions should not deal with more than two bodies, nor involve calculus.


The following assessments were created by science teachers hoping to better understand the NGSS. In most cases teachers went from standard to assessment in around an hour.  These are drafts and should be used accordingly. Feel free to improve these assessments or contribute to the collection. Learn more about assessment design here.



Anchor Charts



Orbital motion
Objects (e.g. planets, moons, spacecraft)
Kepler’s Laws
 - First (e = f/d)
 - Second (equal area in equal time)
 - Third (𝑇^2 ∝ 𝑅^3)
Solar system

Learning Plans

*Next Generation Science Standards is a registered trademark of Achieve. Neither Achieve nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of this product, and do not endorse it.  Visit the official NGSS website.