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Simple Circular Motion Model
written by Michael R. Gallis
The Simple Circular Motion Model explores amusement park rides like a Merry-Go-Round.  The rotational speed and radial distance are controlled with sliders at the bottom of the applet.  The controls are "lagged" to reduce the unphysical results of "slamming" the simulation controls. The net horizontal force on the riders is monitored in the accompanying graph in terms of "g's", that is, in terms of multiples of the rider's weight.

The Simple Circular Motion Model was created using the Easy Java Simulations (EJS) modeling tool.  It is distributed as a ready-to-run (compiled) Java archive.  Double clicking the jar file will run the program if Java is installed.

Please note that this resource requires at least version 1.5 of Java (JRE).
1 source code document is available
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Motion in Two Dimensions
= 2D Acceleration
- Newton's Second Law
= Force, Acceleration
- Rotational Dynamics
- Lower Undergraduate
- High School
- Middle School
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Simulation
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Learners
- Educators
- application/java
  • Currently 1.0/5

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Access Rights:
Free access
This material is released under a GNU General Public License Version 3 license.
Rights Holder:
Michael Gallis
amusement park, angular velocity, centripetal acceleration, centripetal force, circular motion, free body diagrams, rotational energy
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created January 15, 2012 by Wolfgang Christian
Record Updated:
January 21, 2017 by Wolfgang Christian
Last Update
when Cataloged:
January 9, 2012
Other Collections:

Next Generation Science Standards

Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)

Forces and Motion (PS2.A)
  • The motion of an object is determined by the sum of the forces acting on it; if the total force on the object is not zero, its motion will change. The greater the mass of the object, the greater the force needed to achieve the same change in motion. For any given object, a larger force causes a larger change in motion. (6-8)
  • All positions of objects and the directions of forces and motions must be described in an arbitrarily chosen reference frame and arbitrarily chosen units of size. In order to share information with other people, these choices must also be shared. (6-8)
  • Newton's second law accurately predicts changes in the motion of macroscopic objects. (9-12)
Relationship Between Energy and Forces (PS3.C)
  • When two objects interact, each one exerts a force on the other that can cause energy to be transferred to or from the object. (6-8)

Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)

Patterns (K-12)
  • Graphs and charts can be used to identify patterns in data. (6-8)

NGSS Science and Engineering Practices (K-12)

Analyzing and Interpreting Data (K-12)
  • Analyzing data in 6–8 builds on K–5 and progresses to extending quantitative analysis to investigations, distinguishing between correlation and causation, and basic statistical techniques of data and error analysis. (6-8)
    • Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for phenomena. (6-8)
  • Analyzing data in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to introducing more detailed statistical analysis, the comparison of data sets for consistency, and the use of models to generate and analyze data. (9-12)
    • Analyze data using computational models in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims. (9-12)
Developing and Using Models (K-12)
  • Modeling in 6–8 builds on K–5 and progresses to developing, using and revising models to describe, test, and predict more abstract phenomena and design systems. (6-8)
    • Develop and use a model to describe phenomena. (6-8)
  • Modeling in 9–12 builds on K–8 and progresses to using, synthesizing, and developing models to predict and show relationships among variables between systems and their components in the natural and designed worlds. (9-12)
    • Use a model to provide mechanistic accounts of phenomena. (9-12)
Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking (5-12)
  • Mathematical and computational thinking at the 9–12 level builds on K–8 and progresses to using algebraic thinking and analysis, a range of linear and nonlinear functions including trigonometric functions, exponentials and logarithms, and computational tools for statistical analysis to analyze, represent, and model data. Simple computational simulations are created and used based on mathematical models of basic assumptions. (9-12)
    • Use mathematical or computational representations of phenomena to describe explanations. (9-12)

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4E. Energy Transformations
  • 6-8: 4E/M4. Energy appears in different forms and can be transformed within a system. Motion energy is associated with the speed of an object. Thermal energy is associated with the temperature of an object. Gravitational energy is associated with the height of an object above a reference point. Elastic energy is associated with the stretching or compressing of an elastic object. Chemical energy is associated with the composition of a substance. Electrical energy is associated with an electric current in a circuit. Light energy is associated with the frequency of electromagnetic waves.
4F. Motion
  • 6-8: 4F/M3b. If a force acts towards a single center, the object's path may curve into an orbit around the center.
  • 9-12: 4F/H8. Any object maintains a constant speed and direction of motion unless an unbalanced outside force acts on it.

11. Common Themes

11B. Models
  • 6-8: 11B/M4. Simulations are often useful in modeling events and processes.
  • 9-12: 11B/H3. The usefulness of a model can be tested by comparing its predictions to actual observations in the real world. But a close match does not necessarily mean that other models would not work equally well or better.

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments

High School — Functions (9-12)

Interpreting Functions (9-12)
  • F-IF.6 Calculate and interpret the average rate of change of a function (presented symbolically or as a table) over a specified interval. Estimate the rate of change from a graph.
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
M. Gallis, Computer Program SIMPLE CIRCULAR MOTION MODEL (2012), WWW Document, (
M. Gallis, Computer Program SIMPLE CIRCULAR MOTION MODEL (2012), <>.
APA Format
Gallis, M. (2012). Simple Circular Motion Model [Computer software]. Retrieved July 27, 2017, from
Chicago Format
Gallis, Michael. "Simple Circular Motion Model." (accessed 27 July 2017).
MLA Format
Gallis, Michael. Simple Circular Motion Model. Computer software. 2012. Java (JRE) 1.5. 27 July 2017 <>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Michael Gallis", Title = {Simple Circular Motion Model}, Month = {January}, Year = {2012} }
Refer Export Format

%A Michael Gallis
%T Simple Circular Motion Model
%D January 9, 2012
%O application/java

EndNote Export Format

%0 Computer Program
%A Gallis, Michael
%D January 9, 2012
%T Simple Circular Motion Model
%8 January 9, 2012

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Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Electronic References.

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Simple Circular Motion Model:

Is Based On Easy Java Simulations Modeling and Authoring Tool

The Easy Java Simulations Modeling and Authoring Tool is needed to explore the computational model used in the Simple Circular Motion Model.

relation by Wolfgang Christian

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