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written by Tom Henderson
This set of interactive practice questions allows students of introductory physics to test their own understanding of the graphical depiction of motion. It consists of 37 questions/tasks, with answers provided. Extensive scaffolding is provided in the form of "Explanation" links.  

Editor's Note: Physics education research shows that students often enter college courses with limited understanding of the meaning behind velocity-time graphs and position-time graphs, even after instruction. This activity lets them self-assess, an important step to achieve deeper understanding.

This resource is part of The Physics Classroom web site.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Motion in One Dimension
= Position & Displacement
= Velocity
- Motion in Two Dimensions
= 2D Acceleration
Education Foundations
- Assessment
= Self Assessment
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Problem/Problem Set
= Student Guide
- Assessment Material
= Test
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- Assessment
- New teachers
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© 2006 Tom Henderson
constant velocity, displacement, formative assessment, graphing assessment, interactive problems, motion graph, motion graphing, position vs. time, self-test, velocity, velocity vs. time
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created September 10, 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. 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/H1b. Sometimes the rate of change of something depends on how much there is of something else (as the rate of change of speed is proportional to the amount of force acting).
  • 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

Standards for Mathematical Practice (K-12)

MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

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.?
  • F-IF.5 Relate the domain of a function to its graph and, where applicable, to the quantitative relationship it describes.?
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.1.c Recognize situations in which a quantity grows or decays by a constant percent rate per unit interval relative to another.
  • F-LE.5 Interpret the parameters in a linear or exponential function in terms of a context.

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.

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

This comprehensive self-assessment offers much more than a set of problems. For each of the 37 questions, links are provided to additional explanations. This resource is ideal for self-assessment or as guided practice for learners who are struggling.

Link to Unit:
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AIP Format
T. Henderson, (2006), WWW Document, (http://www.physicsclassroom.com/morehelp/graphpra/graphs.cfm).
T. Henderson, The Physics Classroom: Graph Sketching and Recognition, (2006), <http://www.physicsclassroom.com/morehelp/graphpra/graphs.cfm>.
APA Format
Henderson, T. (2011, February 28). The Physics Classroom: Graph Sketching and Recognition. Retrieved January 19, 2017, from http://www.physicsclassroom.com/morehelp/graphpra/graphs.cfm
Chicago Format
Henderson, Tom. The Physics Classroom: Graph Sketching and Recognition. February 28, 2011. http://www.physicsclassroom.com/morehelp/graphpra/graphs.cfm (accessed 19 January 2017).
MLA Format
Henderson, Tom. The Physics Classroom: Graph Sketching and Recognition. 2006. 28 Feb. 2011. 19 Jan. 2017 <http://www.physicsclassroom.com/morehelp/graphpra/graphs.cfm>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Tom Henderson", Title = {The Physics Classroom: Graph Sketching and Recognition}, Volume = {2017}, Number = {19 January 2017}, Month = {February 28, 2011}, Year = {2006} }
Refer Export Format

%A Tom Henderson
%T The Physics Classroom: Graph Sketching and Recognition
%D February 28, 2011
%U http://www.physicsclassroom.com/morehelp/graphpra/graphs.cfm
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%A Henderson, Tom
%D February 28, 2011
%T The Physics Classroom: Graph Sketching and Recognition
%V 2017
%N 19 January 2017
%8 February 28, 2011
%9 text/html
%U http://www.physicsclassroom.com/morehelp/graphpra/graphs.cfm

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