Tour of Physlets: Example 1

Animator is probably our most versatile Physlet. Both geometric objects, such as circles and rectangles, and images can be scripted either to follow analytic trajectories or to obey Newton's laws of motion. In this example, written by Aaron Titus, a Ferris wheel is simulated by a collection of colored squares moving along a circular path with constant angular velocity as show.  Each square represents a chair on the Ferris wheel. A typical question might ask students to compare the net force on the rider at point (a) and at point (b). Although the answer, F= mv2/r, is easy, students will often include frame-dependent forces since they have personal experiences riding Ferris wheels or get confused by the varying cause of the centripetal force.

Physlet: Animator

Problem by Aaron Titus
Script by Aaron Titus