Unit Planner: Circular motion and gravity

Unit 6: Circular motion and gravity

Start date:

End date:

Diploma assessment

When will the content be assessed?

Paper 1 x
Paper 2 x
Paper 3
Investigation x

Text book reference

Hamper Chapter 4

Inquiry: Establishing the purpose of the unit

Transfer Goals
List here one to three big, overarching, long-term goals for this unit. Transfer goals are the major goals that ask students to “transfer”, or apply, their knowledge, skills, and concepts at the end of the unit under new/different circumstances, and on their own without scaffolding from the teacher.

  • The concept of a force perpendicular to velocity resulting in circular motion is key to the understanding of orbits, the Bohr model and charges in a B field.
  • Gravity will be used in Astro physics.
  • Components of circular motion used in SHM

List here the key content that students will know by the end of the unit

  • Centripetal force
  • Newton's law
  • Field strength
  • Field lines

List here the key skills that students will develop by the end of the unit.

  • Identify the centripetal force
  • Calculate the centripetal force

List here the key concepts that students will understand by the end of the unit

  • A body moving at constant speed can accelerate
  • When a body moves in a circle there is always an unbalanced force to the centre
  • Gravitational force is proportional to 1/r2
  • Field strength is force per unit mass
  • Density of field line represent field strength

Examples of real world practical applications of knowledge.

  • Mass on a string
  • Wall of death
  • Car going round a corner
  • Satellites
  • Loop the loop

Action: teaching and learning through Inquiry

Approaches to teaching
Tick boxes to indicate pedagogical approaches used.

Simulation x
Small group work (pairs) x
Hands on practical x
Video x
Student centred inquiry x

Examples of how TOK can be introduced in this unit

  • Newton's law is called "The Universal law" which means it applies to the Universe, this is a bold claim. Can we really claim to know that this law applies to every body in the universe?
  • Gravity acts between every particle of mass in the universe. This means that if a red ball on the earth is moved every particle of matter in the Universe will feel it.
  • Field lines do not exist but just help us to visualise the field, why do we need to be able to visualise it? What about blind people, how do they visualise fields?
  • Why does a ball fall? Because of gravity. What is gravity? The thing that makes the ball fall.

Examples of how NOS can be introduced in this unit.

  • We can conclude that if a body moves in a circle there must be a force towards the centre by considering energy changes or the change of velocity over a short displacement. Two different perspectives give the same outcome.
  • The field model is one that is used in other areas of physics.
  • Was Newton's theory subject to peer review? Apparently not Link.
  • Newton's law has now been superseded by Einstein's theory of general relativity, a very different way of looking at the problem.

Video clips, simulations demonstrations etc.


What went well
List the portions of the unit (content, assessment, planning) that were successful

What didn’t work well
List the portions of the unit (content, assessment, planning) that were not as successful as hoped

List any notes, suggestions, or considerations for the future teaching of this unit.

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