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published by the Public Broadcasting Service
technical implementer: the Show of Force Productions
This video explores center of mass and torque and its role in balance for a circus acrobat balancing atop her partner's head. When the top acrobat's center of mass is not over the point of support, a torque results.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education Practices
- Technology
= Multimedia
Motion, Forces, and Energy
- Applications of Newton's Laws
= Dynamic Torque
- Motion in Two Dimensions
= 2D Acceleration
= Center of Mass
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Instructor Guide/Manual
= Student Guide
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Learners
- Educators
- text/html
- video/mp4
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Additional Information
Physics To Go This resource was a Physics To Go feature from May 1, 2012 until May 15, 2012. View the feature here!


Access Rights: Free access
Restriction: © 2010 Public Broadcasting System
Has a copyright or other licensing restriction.
Keywords: center of mass video, physics videos, torque, video-based learning
Record Cloner: Metadata instance created November 19, 2013 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated: Aug 19, 2020 by Lyle Barbato
Other Collections:

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)
  • 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)
  • 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)

NGSS Science and Engineering Practices (K-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 representations of phenomena or design solutions to support and revise explanations. (9-12)

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

2. The Nature of Mathematics

2B. Mathematics, Science, and Technology
  • 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

4F. Motion
  • 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/H2. All motion is relative to whatever frame of reference is chosen, for there is no motionless frame from which to judge all motion.
  • 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.

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.
  • A-SSE.1.b Interpret complicated expressions by viewing one or more of their parts as a single entity.
  • A-SSE.2 Use the structure of an expression to identify ways to rewrite it.
Creating Equations? (9-12)
  • A-CED.4 Rearrange formulas to highlight a quantity of interest, using the same reasoning as in solving equations.
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
(Public Broadcasting Service, Arlington, 2010), WWW Document, (https://www.thirteen.org/programs/circus/circus-circus-physics-center-of-mass/).
AJP/PRST-PER
Circus Physics: Center of Mass, (Public Broadcasting Service, Arlington, 2010), <https://www.thirteen.org/programs/circus/circus-circus-physics-center-of-mass/>.
APA Format
Circus Physics: Center of Mass. (2010). Retrieved June 22, 2021, from Public Broadcasting Service: https://www.thirteen.org/programs/circus/circus-circus-physics-center-of-mass/
Chicago Format
Show of Force Productions. Circus Physics: Center of Mass. Arlington: Public Broadcasting Service, 2010. https://www.thirteen.org/programs/circus/circus-circus-physics-center-of-mass/ (accessed 22 June 2021).
MLA Format
Circus Physics: Center of Mass. Arlington: Public Broadcasting Service, 2010. Show of Force Productions. 22 June 2021 <https://www.thirteen.org/programs/circus/circus-circus-physics-center-of-mass/>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {Circus Physics: Center of Mass}, Publisher = {Public Broadcasting Service}, Volume = {2021}, Number = {22 June 2021}, Year = {2010} }
Refer Export Format

%T Circus Physics: Center of Mass
%D 2010
%I Public Broadcasting Service
%C Arlington
%U https://www.thirteen.org/programs/circus/circus-circus-physics-center-of-mass/
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D 2010
%T Circus Physics: Center of Mass
%I Public Broadcasting Service
%V 2021
%N 22 June 2021
%9 text/html
%U https://www.thirteen.org/programs/circus/circus-circus-physics-center-of-mass/


Disclaimer: ComPADRE offers citation styles as a guide only. We cannot offer interpretations about citations as this is an automated procedure. Please refer to the style manuals in the Citation Source Information area for clarifications.

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 Style.org: Electronic References.

The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation.

The MLA Style presented is based on information from the MLA FAQ.

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