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Learning Resource Type

Classroom Resource

The Limits of Speed

Subject Area



9, 10, 11, 12


Science fiction movies take it for granted that someday humans, or an alien race, will travel faster than the speed of light and build an intergalactic empire. Scientists aren't so sure that this is possible. It turns out that approaching the speed of light is very difficult. If Einstein's theories are correct, nothing that has mass can travel at the speed of light.

This informational material will apply a precalculus concept--limits of functions at infinity--to a well-known scientific theory--Einstein's theory of relativity. There is a video and links to additional information included.

    Mathematics (2019) Grade(s): 09-12 - Precalculus

    Determine numerically, algebraically, and graphically the limits of functions at specific values and at infinity.

    Science (2015) Grade(s): 09-12 - Earth and Space Science

    Obtain and evaluate information about Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, and Einstein to communicate how their findings challenged conventional thinking and allowed for academic advancements and space exploration.

    Unpacked Content

    Unpacked Content



    • Copernicus
    • Galileo
    • Kepler
    • Newton
    • Einstein
    • heliocentric
    • orbit
    • gravity
    • relativity


    Students know:
    • Copernicus contributed the heliocentric or sun-centered conception of the universe.
    • Kepler contributed the three laws of planetary motion Galileo contributed through telescopic observations that materials in universe were more earth like rather than ethereal.
    • Newton contributed the laws of motion and universal gravitation.
    • Einstein contributed the theories of relativity.


    Students are able to:
    • Identify relevant evidence found in case studies from the history of science on Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, and Einstein.
    • Evaluate the validity, reliability of evidence along with its ability to support reasonable arguments.


    Students understand that:
    • Science knowledge is a result of human endeavor, imagination, and creativity.
    • Individuals and teams from many nations and cultures have contributed to science and to advances in engineering.
    • Technological advances have influenced the progress of science and science has influenced advances in technology.

    Scientific and Engineering Practices

    Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information
    Link to Resource

    CR Resource Type

    Informational Material

    Resource Provider



    Text Resources: Content is organized under headings and subheadings
    Video resources: includes closed captioning or subtitles

    License Type