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Circular Motion

Grades 5-8 Performance Task

Contributed by: Council Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)

Students investigate the common observation that your body gets pushed against the side of a car when the vehicle makes turns. The students look at objects that move in circles to see what keeps them moving in a circle. This exercise demonstrates three ideas about circular motion. 1) Forces are needed to cause circular motion; 2) When a force causing an object to move with circular motion stops, the object will move with straight line motion tangent to the circle; 3) Objects moving straight will continue to move straight until an outside force causes them to turn.


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