Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Science of the Circus

Ladies and gentlemen! Boys and girls! Kids of all ages, step right up for some circus fun! This week our STEM class is going to the circus, or at least bringing parts of the circus into the classroom. We are taking a look at tightrope walkers, or funambulists, and other balancing acts of the circus and focusing on the physics behind the tricks that wow us from the center ring.

Students will be learning about the center of gravity, momentum, motion, balance, equilibrium, inertia, net force, and torque this week through video clips featuring tightrope walkers, trapeze artists, and other feats of balance, walking a line and a small balance beam, and making clowns balance on their fingers (paper clowns, that is). The balancing artist and acrobats featured in the videos depend on the laws of science to work for their safety. The main thing they must know as part of their act is where their center of gravity is at all times. If they lose this, they may not be around the perform their next act.

The students will be using the force and motion concepts they are learning this week and applying it in their Simple Machines unit, especially in their final projects for the unit.

For more information about the science of the circus, check out these sites:


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