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Earth Hockey

Keywords: Reference Frames, Relative Motion, Animation, Coriolis Effect, Rotating Frames, Computer Visualization

Highlights of the activity

  1. This computer visualization activity is designed to help upper division undergraduate students visualize the trajectories of a hockey puck moving along the surface of the earth.
  2. Students work in small groups and use a computer simulation to model the motion of a hockey puck moving on the surface of the earth, taking into account the rotation of the earth.
  3. The whole class wrap-up discussion highlights the possible trajectories a hockey puck can take, exemplifying the motion of the puck in different reference frames.

Reasons to spend class time on the activity

Many students have trouble considering motion from the vantage point of different reference frames. Animations help students visualize the motion of objects as seen from different reference frames. This skill is useful in many areas, including relative motion (Galilean boosts) and relativity.


Instructor's Guide

Authors: David McIntyre, Tevian Dray
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