Geography Functional Chapter 1 Experiment 2 Centrifugal and Centripetal Force

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  • a small bucket
  • water
  • rope or strong string, between 1 to 2 feet long.


  • Teacher should have conducted the First Great Lesson: God Who Has No Hands/The Universe Story before beginning these experiments.
  • Chapter 1 of Functional Geography is Formation of the Earth and includes Impressionistic Charts 1-6
  • Functional geography curriculum focuses on a presentation of the world in terms of the active and functioning processes affecting the earth as a planet in the sun's family. Geography examines the social and cultural contexts of the world while functional geography explores the geological and astronomical contexts of the earth in the universe.
  • When we teach functional geography to the child, we are both performing and recording with words and pictures the forces affecting our planet earth.
  • Functional Geography is presented to the child as an experiment which isolates a concept and then an impressionistic chart which makes a visual impression.


LAWS OF MOTION IN THE SOLAR SYSTEM All the celestial bodies are suspended in space. However, they do no collide. There are two forces in the universe: attraction and repulsion. It is these forces which maintain equilibrium in the universe.

EXPERIMENT 2: Centrifugal and Centripetal Force Directions: 1.Take the small bucket, fill it about 3/4 full of water, attach the string to its handle, and swing the bucket over your head in a circular motion quickly. 2. Repeat the experiment, slowing down the movement. 3. Repeat the experiment with the bucket empty, and let it go. (In the experiment with a bucket of water and a string, the arm exercises centripetal force. When one lets go, the bucket will not continue to go in a circle. It is centrifugal force which causes it to fly off on the tangent.)

Record you observation:

Statement: (If we put an object in circular motion, two forces result: one that attracts the object towards the center (centripetal force) and the other that pulls it from the center (centrifugal force).

Teacher: "In the universe, there are two forces which prevent collision of the celestial bodies: FORCE OF ATTRACTION: Centripetal FORCE OF REPULSION: Centrifugal

TECHNICAL INFORMATION: The whole matter of motion is summarized by Sir Isaac Newton, in the form of three generalizations known as laws of motion. They may be expressed as follows: 1. Everybody continues at rest or in a state of uniform motion unless a force acts upon it. A body at rest stays at rest. 2. If a force acts upon a body, the body experiences an acceleration in the direction of the force and proportional in amount ot it, as well as inversely proportional to the mass of the body. 3. Associated with every force there is an equal and oppositely directed reaction force. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Control Of Error

Points Of Interest

There is not an Impressionistic Chart or Classified Nomenclature that accompanies this experiment.


  • The Montessori methodology first gives the concept of the formation of the earth through experiments. These experiments are the key to giving the child the concrete verification that the universe is not a static universe, but one in which elements are in motion.


Usually, the teacher presents the experiment first, and the the child does it independently using the direction card for directions. With the older children, the experiments are presented in a more scientific way.