Lesson Plan Feature: Physics Lessons from the CIRCUS

CircusIf you watched any of the PBS series Circus last season, you stepped into the ring for an intimate look at the mystery and thrill of the legendary Big Apple Circus.  From this series you can find videos and activities designed to be incorporated into the high school physics curriculum.   Students can view fun and exciting circus acts with video-based lesson plans that are accompanied by activity guides and more:

Projectile Motion:  Jugglers know that if you throw a ball, a bean bag or a pin into the air, it will follow a curved path.  Students find out why.

Newton’s Laws of Motion:  Students watch Luciano’s puppies jump, slide and wrestle, learning that while the show looks like chaos in the ring, the commotion can be explained by just 3 simple laws of motion.

Conservation of Energy: While the aerial acrobatics’ routine requires exquisite balance, timing and years of training, these death-defying stunts would be impossible without the conservation of energy.  This lesson explores the basics of 3 common forms of energy.

Centripetal Acceleration:  Trick riders depend on horses that can run in circles without getting tired.  Students learn the basics of circular motion at work whenever they go around the bend in a car or hold their seats on a roller coaster.

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