Schottenbauer Publishing

Thursday, October 2, 2014

The Physics of Gymnastics: Pendulum Motion and Circles

Physics divides motion into two general types: translational (straight) motion and rotational (curved) motion. Two types of rotational motion are prevalent in gymnastics: pendulum motion (swinging) and rotation (circles). 

The graphs below, excerpted from the science lab manuals Gravity, Springs, & Collisions: Graphs of Classical Physics Experiments from Schottenbauer Publishing, show patterns of motion from pendulum motion and circular motion.

Discussion Questions
  1. What variables are present in Graphs 1? In Graph 2? Is it possible to compare motion using these variables?
  2. In which dimensions is there motion in the top graph? In the lower graph?
  3. Qualitatively describe the motion contained in these two graphs. What are the similarities? What are the differences?
  4. Which types of gymnastics moves involve pendulum motion? How are these moves different from the motion described in Graph 1? 
  5. Which types of gymnastics moves involve circular motion? How are these moves different from the motion described in Graph 2?

Data such as those above can be obtained in several series of science and math books by M. Schottenbauer, Ph.D. The first set of books are multi-volume series of graphs. Selections from these lab manuals have also been collected into anthologies: 

Graphs & Data for Science Lab: Multi-Volume Series
Anthologies of 28 Graphs

    Young audiences may be interested in the following series of geometry workbooks on gymnastics and related topics:

    Geometry Workbooks

    Unbeatable Specials

    With Kindle Unlimited ($9.99/month) at, you can read all e-books from Schottenbauer Publishing for no extra charge! Amazon offers Free 30 Day Trials of Kindle Unlimited. With this deal, trial members can read all Schottenbauer Publishing e-books free! This includes all the geometry workbooks, plus "The World in a Graph," "Alphabets of the World," textbooks on the science of music, all the e-book puzzles, and the educational novels by M. Schottenbauer, Ph.D.