the Public Broadcasting Service
the Show of Force Productions
This video-based resource explores linear momentum through an example from a trapeze performance. The momentum of the system is the sum of the momenta of all objects in it. The video is crafted to help students understand how momentum is conserved as one trapeze artist jumps off a swinging platform and launches into the air. It should be emphasized that this example considers just the launch and not the motion before or after. This resource includes a teacher's guide with tips on how to incorporate the video into instruction, discussion questions, and accompanying classroom activities.
This resource was developed in conjunction with the PBS series Circus. See Related Materials for a link to the full set of 8 Circus Physics video-based lessons.
9-12: 2B/H3. Mathematics provides a precise language to describe objects and events and the relationships among them. In addition, mathematics provides tools for solving problems, analyzing data, and making logical arguments.
4. The Physical Setting
9-12: 4F/H1. The change in motion (direction or speed) of an object is proportional to the applied force and inversely proportional to the mass.
9-12: 4F/H4. Whenever one thing exerts a force on another, an equal amount of force is exerted back on it.
9-12: 4F/H8. Any object maintains a constant speed and direction of motion unless an unbalanced outside force acts on it.
Next Generation Science Standards
Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions (HS-PS2)
Students who demonstrate understanding can: (9-12)
Analyze data to support the claim that Newton's second law of motion describes the mathematical relationship among the net force on a macroscopic object, its mass, and its acceleration. (HS-PS2-1)
Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)
Forces and Motion (PS2.A)
Newton's second law accurately predicts changes in the motion of macroscopic objects. (9-12)
Momentum is defined for a particular frame of reference; it is the mass times the velocity of the object. (9-12)
If a system interacts with objects outside itself, the total momentum of the system can change; however, any such change is balanced by changes in the momentum of objects outside the system. (9-12)
Conservation of Energy and Energy Transfer (PS3.B)
Conservation of energy means that the total change of energy in any system is always equal to the total energy transferred into or out of the system. (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)
Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments
High School — Algebra (9-12)
Seeing Structure in Expressions (9-12)
A-SSE.1.a Interpret parts of an expression, such as terms, factors, and coefficients.
Creating Equations? (9-12)
A-CED.1 Create equations and inequalities in one variable and use them to solve problems. Include equations arising from linear and quadratic functions, and simple rational and exponential functions.
A-CED.4 Rearrange formulas to highlight a quantity of interest, using the same reasoning as in solving equations.
Show of Force Productions. Circus Physics: Linear Momentum. Arlington: Public Broadcasting Service, 2010. http://www.pbs.org/opb/circus/classroom/circus-physics/linear-momentum/ (accessed 2 July 2016).
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