Science Reasoninig Center - Juggling

Grade Level: High School

This passage describes the trajectory of a rotating juggling club moving through the air. The trajectory of three points on the club are presented in the form of a position (both x- and y-) versus time graph. Questions target a student's ability to select information from a complex graph and to use graphical information to make conclusions regarding the club's orientation and the relative position and rotational direction of various points on the club.

This activity aligns with two of the three dimensions of the Next Generation Science Standards in the manner described below:
Crosscutting Concepts
Patterns: Empirical evidence is needed to identify patterns. It is for good reason that physics teachers often treat projectiles as point objects.  Studying the motion of a point on a 2-D rotating projectile yields a very complex motion, as can be illustrated in Figure 2 of this passage.  As students analyze this data presentation, however, they begin to see why the center-of-mass becomes such a valuable point in the analysis of a rotating real life projectile.   Such patterns emerge only through the analysis of empirical data. 

Analyzing and Interpreting Data:  Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution. A graph of video-captured x and y positions of three locations on a juggling pin are plotted as a function of time.  The questions to which students will respond and the claims that students will make at the end of this data-rich passage will come from careful analysis of this graph.


Associated Reading from The Physics Classroom

Other Supporting Pages at The Physics Classroom:

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