Episode 223: Preparation for Circular Motion Topic
Circular motion is frequently observed in nature; it is a special case of elliptical motion, such as the orbiting of planets under gravity. Once students have a grasp of the mechanics of linear motion in one or two dimensions, it is a natural extension to consider circular motion.
Advance warning
There are several demonstrations in this topic which can add a lot to the interest of the subject. It is useful to practise them in advance, to avoid embarrassing failures in front of the students.
A useful source of material is Multimedia Motion II, from Cambridge Science Media. This CDROM contains many excellent video clips of motion including that showing an object moving in a horizontal and vertical circle. The position, velocity and acceleration of the object can be analysed.
Main aims

Prior knowledge
Students should be familiar with the equations of linear motion, and Newton's Laws of Motion.
Where this leads
Circular motion crops up in many different situations, and students will need to be able to apply the equations for centripetal force and acceleration. For example:
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