The Linear and Angular Velocity Concept Builder is an adjustable-size file that displays nicely on smart phones, on tablets such as the iPad, on Chromebooks, and on laptops and desktops. The size of the Concept Builder can be scaled to fit the device that it is displayed on. The compatibility with smart phones, iPads, other tablets, and Chromebooks make it a perfect tool for use in a 1:1 classroom.


Teaching Ideas and Suggestions:

This Concept Builder is designed to be used early in a unit on rotational kinematics. The emphasis is on angular velocity and its connection to linear velocity. Students will need to use these concepts to be successful with each activity. Most questions in the first two activities have students comparing the angular velocity (or the linear velocity) for two different situations. In the third activity, students will need to identify how to calculate the angular velocity (or the linear velocity) from the given information.

This Concept Builder consists of 52 different questions that are organized into 14 different Question Groups and spread across three different activities. Those three activities are described as follows:
  • Turntable Physics:  Question Groups 1-4: Students identify the situation with the greatest angular or linear velocity when given information about the rotating object.
  • Case Studies: Question Groups 5-10: Students are given information about two rotational cases and determine how many times smaller or greater the angular velocity (or linear velocity) of Case A is than Case B.
  • Do the Math: Question Groups 11-14: Students are provided quantitative information about a rotating object and must identify the proper expression for the angular velocity or linear velocity.

Before using the Concept Builder with your classes, we recommend that teachers attempt each of the activities in order to determine which are most appropriate for your classes and what pre-requisite understanding a student must have in order to complete it. Alternatively, the questions are provided in a separate file for preview purposes. Students will need to be comfortable with variables that affect the amount of linear or angular velocity. 

In order to complete an activity, a student must correctly analyze each question in that activity. If a student's analysis is incorrect, then the student will have to correctly analyze the same or very similar question twice in order to successfully complete the activity. This approach provides the student extra practice on questions for which they exhibited difficulty. As a student progresses through an activity, a system of stars and other indicators are used to indicate progress on the level (displayed for Task Tracker users). A star is an indicator of correctly analyzing the question. Once a star is earned, that question is removed from the queue of questions to be analyzed. Each situation is color-coded with either a yellow or a red box. A red box indicates that the student has incorrectly analyzed the question and will have to correctly analyze it twice before earning a star. A yellow box is an indicator that the question must be correctly analyzed one time in order to earn a star. Once every question in an activity has been analyzed, the student earns a Trophy which is displayed on the Main Menu. 

The most valuable (and most overlooked) aspect of this Concept Builder is the Help Me! feature. Each Question Group is accompanied by a Help page that discusses the specifics of the question. This Help feature transforms the activity from a question-answering activity into a concept-building activity. The student who takes the time to use the Help pages can be transformed from a guesser to a learner and from an unsure student to a confident student. The "meat and potatoes" of the Help pages are in the sections titled "How to Think About This Situation:" Students need to be encouraged by teachers to use the Help Me! button and to read this section of the page. A student that takes time to reflect upon how they are answering the question and how an expert would think about the situation can transform their naivete into expertise. 



Related Resources

We do not have a lot of resources on the topic of Rotational Motion at The Physics Classroom website. What we do have is listed below. We hope to be adding more in the future. 
  • The Calculator Pad:
    Our recently-revised Calculator Pad section has a complete collection of problems on all sorts of rotational topics. There are eight problem sets on the  topic of Rotational Kinematics. Problem sets RK1 through RK4 would make great follow-ups to this Concept Builder.

    View Rotational Kinematics at The Calculator Pad.

  • Physics Interactives:
    The Rotational Motion Interactive simulates two bugs rotating in a circle on a turntable. The simulation allows the user to change the location of the bugs and the angular velocity of the two bugs. A plot of the height of the bugs (in the simulation window) as a function of time is plotted. The linear and angular speed of the bugs are reported.

    Visit Rotational Motion Interactive.