Featured in PASCO’s Advanced Physics Teacher Guide

Advanced Physics Teacher Guide


This manual features over 30 College Board curriculum and AP Physics exam inspired lab activities.

Rotational Dynamics

Lab Summary

Use a rotary motion sensor to investigate factors that define and affect spinning objects.


Students investigate factors that define and affect spinning objects by:

  • Defining and exploring the concept of rotational inertia I.
  • Understanding how torque causes angular acceleration.
  • Establishing and understanding equations that define rotational motion and how they relate to the equations for linear (translational) motion.


Students gain experience conducting the following procedures using a rotating platform and a pulley system to generate the torque:

  • Changing the torque by changing the mass (and hence the force), on the pulley.
  • Changing the lever arm by using a larger pulley.
  • Changing the rotational inertia by changing the distance of the masses on the rotating platform from the axis of rotation.

Sensors / Equipment Used:

PASPORT Rotary Motion Sensor


Put a new spin on many common experiments with this highly versatile sensor.

Mini Rotational Accessory


Designed to work with Rotary Motion Sensors to perform rotational inertial, conservation of angular momentum, and pendulum experiments.

Base and Support Rod


The Large Base and Support Rod includes built-in leveling screws and an aluminum rod that is 12.7 mm (1/2 in.) in diameter and 45 cm long.

Mass and Hanger Set


Polycarbonate mass hangers with steel posts and "holed' masses that will not fall off. 4 hangers and 27 weights ranging from 1/2 g to 100 g.

Materials Used:

Meter stick 
Stainless Steel Caliper 
String - 1.5 m

The Associated Bundle:

Advanced Physics Standard Sensor Bundle


This bundle contains the probeware needed to perform all 37 lab activities in the Advanced Physics lab manual.

Interface Required

This experiment may require software and an interface for data collection.