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published by the Public Broadcasting Service
technical implementer: 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.

Please note that this resource requires Flash.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Linear Momentum
= Conservation of Linear Momentum
- Newton's Second Law
= Interacting Objects
Education Practices
- Technology
= Multimedia
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Instructor Guide/Manual
= Problem/Problem Set
= Student Guide
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- Assessment
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Access Rights:
Free access
© 2010 Public Broadcasting System
conservation of momentum, motion videos, physics videos, trapeze video, video analysis, video-based learning
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created November 18, 2013 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
August 19, 2020 by Lyle Barbato

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)

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/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.
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.
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-linear-momentum/).
Circus Physics: Linear Momentum, (Public Broadcasting Service, Arlington, 2010), <https://www.thirteen.org/programs/circus/circus-circus-physics-linear-momentum/>.
APA Format
Circus Physics: Linear Momentum. (2010). Retrieved January 22, 2022, from Public Broadcasting Service: https://www.thirteen.org/programs/circus/circus-circus-physics-linear-momentum/
Chicago Format
Show of Force Productions. Circus Physics: Linear Momentum. Arlington: Public Broadcasting Service, 2010. https://www.thirteen.org/programs/circus/circus-circus-physics-linear-momentum/ (accessed 22 January 2022).
MLA Format
Circus Physics: Linear Momentum. Arlington: Public Broadcasting Service, 2010. Show of Force Productions. 22 Jan. 2022 <https://www.thirteen.org/programs/circus/circus-circus-physics-linear-momentum/>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {Circus Physics: Linear Momentum}, Publisher = {Public Broadcasting Service}, Volume = {2022}, Number = {22 January 2022}, Year = {2010} }
Refer Export Format

%T Circus Physics: Linear Momentum %D 2010 %I Public Broadcasting Service %C Arlington %U https://www.thirteen.org/programs/circus/circus-circus-physics-linear-momentum/ %O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source %D 2010 %T Circus Physics: Linear Momentum %I Public Broadcasting Service %V 2022 %N 22 January 2022 %9 text/html %U https://www.thirteen.org/programs/circus/circus-circus-physics-linear-momentum/

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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 Style.org: Electronic References.

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

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Circus Physics: Linear Momentum:

Is Part Of Circus Physics

A link to the full collection of Circus Physics videos produced by PBS.

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