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A Rolling Ball on a Merry-go-round
written by Aaron Titus
The Video Analysis of a Rolling Ball on a Merry-go-round uses the Tracker video analysis tool to measure and analyze the motion of a  ball rolling with constant velocity on a rotating merry-go-round. Video includes the motion of the ball as viewed from the rotating reference frame of the merry-go-round. The lab asks students to compare motion of the ball with the net force on the ball to establish whether Newton's first law is valid (or not). This lab helps students use Newton's first law to define an inertial reference frame.

The TRZ file contains the lab handout, two videos (one video to analyze and a second video to view motion of a rolling ball in a rotating reference frame), and the Tracker data file. The video comes from YouTube and can be found at

The videos can be used with other video analysis software; however, the handout has screen captures from Tracker and instructions specifically written for Tracker.
3 supplemental documents are available
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Motion in One Dimension
= Velocity
- Relative Motion
= Coriolis Effect
Education Practices
- Active Learning
= Modeling
- Lower Undergraduate
- Middle School
- High School
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Laboratory
= Tutorial
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Learners
- Educators
- application/pdf
- application/zip
- video/quicktime
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Access Rights:
Free access
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 license.
Rights Holder:
Aaron Titus
coriolis, inertial reference frame, newton's first law, tracker, uniform motion, video analysis, video lab
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created October 23, 2010 by Aaron Titus
Record Updated:
April 25, 2023 by Douglas Brown
Other Collections:

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Record Link
AIP Format
A. Titus, Computer Program A ROLLING BALL ON A MERRY-GO-ROUND (2010), WWW Document, (
A. Titus, Computer Program A ROLLING BALL ON A MERRY-GO-ROUND (2010), <>.
APA Format
Titus, A. (2010). A Rolling Ball on a Merry-go-round [Computer software]. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from
Chicago Format
Titus, Aaron. "A Rolling Ball on a Merry-go-round." (accessed 12 June 2024).
MLA Format
Titus, Aaron. A Rolling Ball on a Merry-go-round. Computer software. 2010. 12 June 2024 <>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Aaron Titus", Title = {A Rolling Ball on a Merry-go-round}, Year = {2010} }
Refer Export Format

%A Aaron Titus %T A Rolling Ball on a Merry-go-round %D 2010 %U %O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Computer Program %A Titus, Aaron %D 2010 %T A Rolling Ball on a Merry-go-round %U

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

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