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A Smart Accelerometer: Circular motion, Centripetal force & the graph of acceleration (iStage 2)


Whether it is a spinning top, a ventilator or the carousel at the fun fair: Uniform circular motions can be found nearly everywhere. But which forces take effect in consequence of the motion? And how does the centripetal acceleration work?

The teaching unit ‘A Smart Accelerometer’ shows the students how the effects of the speedup can be measured by the Smartphone. With two practical experiments on a record player and a rotating fairground ride the students do research on the motion in low an high scales. The sensor of the Smartphone shows the effect of the acceleration along the three axes whereat the position of the Smartphone is determining for the result. Using an app the relation between the graph of acceleration and the radius as well as the equation of the linear fit can be found out.

For this teaching unit the students should be at an age between 15 and 18 years, for certain knowledge in physics, maths and ICT are presumed.

The project is taken from the brochure ‘iStage 2: Smartphones in Science Teaching’ from the topic ‘hands’. The complete brochure can be ordered free of charge (Mail or downloaded. It was developed by 20 teachers from 14 countries around Europe. The project was proudly supported by SAP.

Writers: Lorenza Resta (I) and Zbigniew Trzmiel (PL) | Publisher: Science on Stage Deutschland e.V. | License: Creative Commons

iStage 2 - A Smart Accelerometer
iStage 2 - Beschleunigungsmessung mit dem Smartphone
iStage 2 - Apps and additional resources

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