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Survivor Outer Space (A kinesthetic approach to introducing Center of Mass)

Keywords: Central Forces, Classical Mechanics, Center of Mass, Conservation of Angular Momentum, Kinesthetic


Highlights of the activity

  1. This kinesthetic activity is designed to help students explore the concepts of center-of-mass, conservation of energy, and conservation of angular momentum.
  2. Students work in small groups and imagine they are linked together by tethers, floating freely in outer space with no means of propulsion, and are tasked with reaching a food cache some distance outside their group.
  3. The whole class wrap-up discussion reviews the different approaches tried by each group, focusing on the role of conservation laws.

Reasons to spend class time on the activity

This activity stimulates discussion of center of mass and encourages students to build connections between their intuitive and formal knowledge of the center of mass concept.


Instructor's Guide

Authors: Corinne Manogue
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