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written by Tom Henderson
This unique activity presents eleven interactive challenges designed to help students master motion graphing. Each challenge requires the student to match the motion of an animated car to the correct position/time or velocity/time graph. After all matches have been completed, students check their answers and try again in case of a mismatch.  

This resource is part of The Physics Classroom web site, a growing collection of resources for teachers and learners of introductory physics.

Please note that this resource requires Shockwave.
Editor's Note: Physics education research shows that students often enter college courses with limited understanding of the meaning behind velocity vs. time graphs and position vs. time graphs. This engaging activity lets them explore motion graphs in a low-risk environment, with enough repetition to construct a meaningful understanding of why the graphs appear as they do (essential for success in a college physics course). The activity sheet allows teachers to insert the animation quickly into existing lessons.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Motion in One Dimension
= Position & Displacement
= Velocity
- High School
- Middle School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Curriculum support
= Interactive Simulation
= Problem/Problem Set
= Student Guide
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- Assessment
- New teachers
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Intended Users:
Learner
Educator
Formats:
application/shockwave
text/html
Access Rights:
Free access
Restriction:
© 2011 Tom Henderson
Keywords:
constant velocity, displacement, formative assessment, graphing animations, graphing assessment, interactive animations, language of motion, motion animations, position vs. time, velocity, velocity vs. time
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created April 18, 2011 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
September 20, 2012 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
February 28, 2011

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4F. Motion
  • 6-8: 4F/M3a. An unbalanced force acting on an object changes its speed or direction of motion, or both.
  • 9-12: 4F/H8. Any object maintains a constant speed and direction of motion unless an unbalanced outside force acts on it.

9. The Mathematical World

9B. Symbolic Relationships
  • 6-8: 9B/M3. Graphs can show a variety of possible relationships between two variables. As one variable increases uniformly, the other may do one of the following: increase or decrease steadily, increase or decrease faster and faster, get closer and closer to some limiting value, reach some intermediate maximum or minimum, alternately increase and decrease, increase or decrease in steps, or do something different from any of these.
  • 9-12: 9B/H4. Tables, graphs, and symbols are alternative ways of representing data and relationships that can be translated from one to another.

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments

Functions (8)

Use functions to model relationships between quantities. (8)
  • 8.F.5 Describe qualitatively the functional relationship between two quantities by analyzing a graph (e.g., where the function is increasing or decreasing, linear or nonlinear). Sketch a graph that exhibits the qualitative features of a function that has been described verbally.

High School — Number and Quantity (9-12)

Vector and Matrix Quantities (9-12)
  • N-VM.1 (+) Recognize vector quantities as having both magnitude and direction. Represent vector quantities by directed line segments, and use appropriate symbols for vectors and their magnitudes (e.g., v, |v|, ||v||, v).

High School — Functions (9-12)

Interpreting Functions (9-12)
  • F-IF.4 For a function that models a relationship between two quantities, interpret key features of graphs and tables in terms of the quantities, and sketch graphs showing key features given a verbal description of the relationship.?
Linear, Quadratic, and Exponential Models? (9-12)
  • F-LE.1.b Recognize situations in which one quantity changes at a constant rate per unit interval relative to another.
  • F-LE.3 Observe using graphs and tables that a quantity increasing exponentially eventually exceeds a quantity increasing linearly, quadratically, or (more generally) as a polynomial function.

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.


Topic: Kinematics: The Physics of Motion
Unit Title: Graphing

This set of eleven interactive challenges will help students master motion graphing. Each challenge requires the student to match the motion of an animated car to the correct position/time or velocity/time graph. The activity provides enough repetition to help learners construct a meaningful understanding of why the graphs appear as they do.

Link to Unit:
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Record Link
AIP Format
T. Henderson, (2011), WWW Document, (http://www.physicsclassroom.com/shwave/gtmintro.cfm).
AJP/PRST-PER
T. Henderson, The Physics Classroom: Graph That Motion Activity Sheet, (2011), <http://www.physicsclassroom.com/shwave/gtmintro.cfm>.
APA Format
Henderson, T. (2011, February 28). The Physics Classroom: Graph That Motion Activity Sheet. Retrieved October 24, 2014, from http://www.physicsclassroom.com/shwave/gtmintro.cfm
Chicago Format
Henderson, Tom. The Physics Classroom: Graph That Motion Activity Sheet. February 28, 2011. http://www.physicsclassroom.com/shwave/gtmintro.cfm (accessed 24 October 2014).
MLA Format
Henderson, Tom. The Physics Classroom: Graph That Motion Activity Sheet. 2011. 28 Feb. 2011. 24 Oct. 2014 <http://www.physicsclassroom.com/shwave/gtmintro.cfm>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Tom Henderson", Title = {The Physics Classroom: Graph That Motion Activity Sheet}, Volume = {2014}, Number = {24 October 2014}, Month = {February 28, 2011}, Year = {2011} }
Refer Export Format

%A Tom Henderson
%T The Physics Classroom: Graph That Motion Activity Sheet
%D February 28, 2011
%U http://www.physicsclassroom.com/shwave/gtmintro.cfm
%O application/shockwave

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%A Henderson, Tom
%D February 28, 2011
%T The Physics Classroom: Graph That Motion Activity Sheet
%V 2014
%N 24 October 2014
%8 February 28, 2011
%9 application/shockwave
%U http://www.physicsclassroom.com/shwave/gtmintro.cfm


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The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

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The Physics Classroom: Graph That Motion Activity Sheet:

Covers the Same Topic As SmartGraphs: Describing Velocity

This interactive tutorial allows students to use a SmartGraph tool to predict the slope of motion graphs, then use real-time data to analyze the real motion and reflect on the accuracy of their predictions.

relation by Caroline Hall
Is By The Same Author and Covers a Similar Topic As The Physics Classroom: Shockwave Studios: Name that Motion

A similar interactive activity in which students match the motion of an animated car to the language that best describes the motion. Appropriate for middle school and high school.

relation by Caroline Hall

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