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In the Uniform Circular Motion Inquiry Lab Kit for AP® Physics 1, investigate the force that causes an object to constantly change direction as it travels in a circle.

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AP Physics 1, Big Idea 3, Investigation 5

The purpose of this advanced-inquiry lab is to investigate the force that causes an object to constantly change direction as it travels in a circle.

Students begin with an introductory activity in which they practice rotating a rubber stopper in a horizontal plane and qualitatively explore the relationship between centripetal force and tangential velocity. Next, students vary the amount of force acting on the stopper and calculate the velocity of the stopper for each measured force. The results provide a model for the guided-inquiry design of a procedure to identify other factors that affect the centripetal acceleration of an object in circular motion. Three different masses of stoppers are provided.

Complete for 24 students working in pairs. Timers are required and available separately. All materials are reusable.

Correlation to Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

Science & Engineering Practices

Planning and carrying out investigations
Analyzing and interpreting data
Using mathematics and computational thinking
Constructing explanations and designing solutions
Engaging in argument from evidence

Disciplinary Core Ideas

HS-PS2.A: Forces and Motion
HS-ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions

Crosscutting Concepts

Patterns
Cause and effect
Scale, proportion, and quantity

Performance Expectations

HS-PS2-1. 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-PS2-2. Use mathematical representations to support the claim that the total momentum of a system of objects is conserved when there is no net force on the system.
HS-ETS1-3. Evaluate a solution to a complex real-world problem based on prioritized criteria and trade-offs that account for a range of constraints, including cost, safety, reliability, and aesthetics, as well as possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts.
HS-ETS1-4. Use a computer simulation to model the impact of proposed solutions to a complex real-world problem with numerous criteria and constraints on interactions within and between systems relevant to the problem.