What Is the Magnus Force?

Throwing a ball through the air seems simple enough, so why do scientists study the effects of air on a sports ball? Veritasium presents a video in its playlist that explains the Magnus force to help athletes throw curve balls. It describes the many forces acting upon a ball as it travels through the air.

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CCSS: Adaptable
Instructional Ideas

  • Recreate the inclined plane demonstration at the beginning of the video to verify the results
Classroom Considerations

  • Relies on prior knowledge of air currents and force vectors
  • Avoid sharing the comments, as the topic allows for many inappropriate jokes
Pros

  • Relates science to sports
  • Requires very little class time
Cons

  • None