Case Based Learning – Circular Motion


The main focus of this lesson is applications of uniform circular motion.  The presented case involves the students analyzing a crash scene in order to determine if they were at fault.  By the end of this lesson, students will be able to explain how forces act on a complex system such as a curve and how they be applied to real world situations.  This is a full inquiry lesson because it displays some but not all of the levels of inquiry with the following variations: questions-2, evidence-2, analysis-2, explain-2, connection- 2, and communication-1.

For modifications, standards, technology integration, learning objectives, and assessment, see the lesson plan below.

Lesson Resources

CBL Lesson Plan – This lesson plan lists the standards, learning goals, procedure, materials, and potential modifications to carry out this demonstration lesson.  Note is does not contain the actual case study.

CBL Circular Motion Case Study – This is the case study that students will work on in order to determine whether or not they are at fault for the accident.

CBL Circular Motion Differentiated Case Study – This case study has been differentiated to be at a lower reading level in order to accommodate lower achieving students.

CBL Circular Motion Slides – This presentation accompanies the case based learning process being taught by the teacher.

CBL Assessment Rubric – This is the assessment rubric created to evaluate student performance on the case study.



The case based learning model is a very powerful method for having students engage in collaborative inquiry in a manner that allows for the development and application of scientific knowledge.  The case provides the students with a realistic scenario that will help them identify with the problem.  Additionally, it builds upon prior knowledge to foster deeper understanding.  This particular lesson is an excellent fit with CBL because it utilizes a hypothetical case to allow student to identify problems and develop solutions to these problems.  Two issues that can arise in CBL is overwhelming students and ensuring that the case has been designed effectively.  I will address this by ensuring that this is not the first time the students have seen inquiry as well as using the attached powerpoint as a checkpoint to address potential issues.  I will also give the case to a third party to solve in order to determine if it was designed properly.


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