This centripetal force lab uses a flying pig toy you can purchase from science supply or toy companies. You do not need a class set, though it's more fun to watch. A single flying pig allows the class to work cooperatively or to work in small groups to collect data. You can even use video analysis (Video coach is a great one) with your most advanced or technologically savvy students.
Students use the formulas for centripetal force and tension at an angle to determine how much greater the tension in the string is when the object is moving than when it hangs at rest. The file comes with teacher instructions, student print outs, and a key with sample data. This is a terrific, mathematically based activity that helps students understand why we have to do all this math and trig.
I also sell a conceptual version of this lab for on-level or lower level classes. Check out my other products!
Keywords: Kelly Wedding Dunigan, inertia, force, mass, centripetal force, tension, newtons, acceleration, spring scale, conical section, physics, velocity, speed, period, experiment, laboratory, lab, measure, measurements, metric system, trigonometry, sin, cos, sine, cosine, Pythagorean theorem.