This handout has students decide whether circular motion is a form of acceleration. It starts out with a make-believe dialog between the teacher and the student. Then students do a brief activity with a length of string and a paperclip which confirms that circular motion is an example of acceleration and it demonstrates the direction of the acceleration.
This is NOT DEEP physics. But it IS ESSENTIAL physics. Any physics teacher knows that the concept of centripetal acceleration is not immediately assimilated by students. The concept requires repeated exposure. The point of this handout is not to be academically challenging but rather it challenges student's preconceptions. It takes a situation students are familiar with (similar to having something hanging free from a rearview mirror) and forces them to analyze the situation in a deliberate way. Hopefully this activity is one experience that helps students expand their understanding of acceleration.