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published by the Concord Consortium
supported by the National Science Foundation
This middle school activity blends a motion sensor lab with a digital "SmartGraph" tool to help learners understand how forward, fast, and slow motions look on a graph of Position vs. Time. The activity requires a Vernier Go! motion device, which provides inputs to the SmartGraph interface via a USB connection. First, learners record their own movements back and forth, at varying speeds. With hints from the interactive SmartGraph, students explore how the motion appears on a Position vs. Time graph, then work to analyze what they see on the screen. This resource includes a lesson plan and assessment with answer key.

This item is part of the Concord Consortium, a nonprofit research and development organization dedicated to transforming education through technology. The Concord Consortium develops deeply digital learning innovations for science, mathematics, and engineering.

Please note that this resource requires Java.
Editor's Note: This resource is the first of a series of sequenced SmartGraph activities, developed to promote deeper conceptual understanding of graphs and the relationships they symbolize. Users must register on The Concord Consortium to access full functionality of all the tools available with SmartGraphs. The Vernier Go! motion sensor with USB port may be purchased for ~$100.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Motion in One Dimension
= Position & Displacement
= Velocity
Education Practices
- Technology
= Multimedia
Other Sciences
- Mathematics
- Middle School
- High School
- Informal Education
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Lesson/Lesson Plan
= Problem/Problem Set
- Dataset
- Audio/Visual
= Image/Image Set
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Lesson Plan
- Activity
- Assessment
- New teachers
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© 2010 The Concord Consortium
1D motion, P/T graph, Position vs. Time, Position/Time graph, digital grapher, displacement, distance graphs, graph sketcher, graph tool, motion, motion graph, motion graphing, motion models, one-dimensional motion, velocity graphs
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created April 26, 2012 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
January 28, 2014 by Caroline Hall

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4F. Motion
  • 3-5: 4F/E1a. Changes in speed or direction of motion are caused by forces.
  • 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
  • 3-5: 9B/E2. Tables and graphs can show how values of one quantity are related to values of another.

Next Generation Science Standards

Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)

Forces and Motion (PS2.A)
  • All positions of objects and the directions of forces and motions must be described in an arbitrarily chosen reference frame and arbitrarily chosen units of size. In order to share information with other people, these choices must also be shared. (6-8)

Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)

Patterns (K-12)
  • Graphs and charts can be used to identify patterns in data. (6-8)

NGSS Science and Engineering Practices (K-12)

Analyzing and Interpreting Data (K-12)
  • Analyzing data in 6–8 builds on K–5 and progresses to extending quantitative analysis to investigations, distinguishing between correlation and causation, and basic statistical techniques of data and error analysis. (6-8)
    • Analyze displays of data to identify linear and nonlinear relationships. (6-8)
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions (K-12)
  • Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to include constructing explanations and designing solutions supported by multiple sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories. (6-8)
    • Construct an explanation that includes qualitative or quantitative relationships between variables that predict phenomena. (6-8)
    • Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for real-world phenomena, examples, or events. (6-8)
    • Construct a scientific explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from sources (including the students' own experiments) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future. (6-8)
Developing and Using Models (K-12)
  • Modeling in 6–8 builds on K–5 and progresses to developing, using and revising models to describe, test, and predict more abstract phenomena and design systems. (6-8)
    • Develop and use a model to describe phenomena. (6-8)
Planning and Carrying Out Investigations (K-12)
  • Planning and carrying out investigations to answer questions or test solutions to problems in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to include investigations that use multiple variables and provide evidence to support explanations or design solutions. (6-8)
    • Conduct an investigation to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence that meet the goals of an investigation. (6-8)
    • Collect data to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence to answer scientific questions or test design solutions under a range of conditions. (6-8)

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments

Standards for Mathematical Practice (K-12)

MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
MP.5 Use appropriate tools strategically.

Expressions and Equations (6-8)

Understand the connections between proportional relationships, lines, and linear equations. (8)
  • 8.EE.5 Graph proportional relationships, interpreting the unit rate as the slope of the graph. Compare two different proportional relationships represented in different ways.

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.

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.

Topic: Kinematics: The Physics of Motion
Unit Title: Velocity and Acceleration

This middle school activity blends a motion sensor lab with a digital "SmartGraph" tool to help learners understand how forward, fast, and slow motions look on a graph of Position vs. Time. The activity requires a Vernier Go! motion device, which provides inputs to the SmartGraph interface via a USB connection.

Link to Unit:
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
(The Concord Consortium, Concord, 2010), WWW Document, (
SmartGraphs: Maria's Run, (The Concord Consortium, Concord, 2010), <>.
APA Format
SmartGraphs: Maria's Run. (2010). Retrieved July 28, 2016, from The Concord Consortium:
Chicago Format
National Science Foundation. SmartGraphs: Maria's Run. Concord: The Concord Consortium, 2010. (accessed 28 July 2016).
MLA Format
SmartGraphs: Maria's Run. Concord: The Concord Consortium, 2010. National Science Foundation. 28 July 2016 <>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {SmartGraphs: Maria's Run}, Publisher = {The Concord Consortium}, Volume = {2016}, Number = {28 July 2016}, Year = {2010} }
Refer Export Format

%T SmartGraphs: Maria's Run
%D 2010
%I The Concord Consortium
%C Concord
%O application/java

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D 2010
%T SmartGraphs: Maria's Run
%I The Concord Consortium
%V 2016
%N 28 July 2016
%9 application/java

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Citation Source Information

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

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Electronic References.

The Chicago Style presented is based on information from Examples of Chicago-Style Documentation.

The MLA Style presented is based on information from the MLA FAQ.

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SmartGraphs: Maria's Run:

Is Part Of Concord Consortium: SmartGraphs

A link to the full collection of SmartGraph interactive materials.

relation by Caroline Hall
Covers the Same Topic As The Physics Classroom: Describing Motion with Position vs. Time Graphs

This high-quality interactive tutorial provides content support for K-8 teachers on the topic of Position vs. Time graphs.

relation by Caroline Hall

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