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Earth Hockey I: Instructor's Guide

Main Ideas

Exploration of animations of the motion of a hockey puck on a frozen Earth.

Students' Task

Estimated Time: 40–50 minutes

Each group should be assigned one of the animations at here. The groups should discuss their animation, until they understand it.

Prerequisite Knowledge

Familiarity with Coriolis and centrifugal acceleration.


  • Computers with web access.
  • Animations available here.


Emphasize the basic properties:

  • Centrifugal acceleration always points towards the equator.
  • Centrifugal acceleration is always present. In particular, it causes a motionless puck to start moving.
  • Coriolis acceleration points to the right of the direction of motion in the Northern Hemisphere.
  • Coriolis acceleration is only present if the puck is moving — and is not located at the equator.


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