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published by the The Science House: NC State University
Battery-powered toy trucks and a motion detector are used in this lesson plan to help students conceptually explore motion graphing and terminology of kinematics.  The author gives explicit directions for set-up of motion detector software using either Mac or PC. There are no calculations associated with this lab, making it especially appropriate for beginning students. Printable student data sheets are provided.

This item is part of a larger collection developed by North Carolina State University to improve the quality of teaching and learning in STEM education.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Motion in One Dimension
- High School
- Instructional Material
= Lesson/Lesson Plan
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Lesson Plan
- Laboratory
- New teachers
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© 2004 The Science House: NC State University
distance vs. time graph, graphing, kinematics graphs, motion graphing, velocity vs. time graph
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created September 7, 2006 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
June 17, 2013 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
September 10, 2006

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4F. Motion
  • 3-5: 4F/E2. How fast things move differs greatly. Some things are so slow that their journey takes a long time; others move too fast for people to even see them.
  • 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.

12. Habits of Mind

12B. Computation and Estimation
  • 9-12: 12B/H4. Use computer spreadsheet, graphing, and database programs to assist in quantitative analysis of real-world objects and events.
12C. Manipulation and Observation
  • 9-12: 12C/H1. Follow instructions in manuals or seek help from an experienced user to learn how to operate new mechanical or electrical devices.
12D. Communication Skills
  • 6-8: 12D/M1. Organize information in simple tables and graphs and identify relationships they reveal.

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments

Ratios and Proportional Relationships (6-7)

Understand ratio concepts and use ratio reasoning to solve problems. (6)
  • 6.RP.3.a Make tables of equivalent ratios relating quantities with whole number measurements, find missing values in the tables, and plot the pairs of values on the coordinate plane. Use tables to compare ratios.
Analyze proportional relationships and use them to solve real-world and mathematical problems. (7)
  • 7.RP.2.a Decide whether two quantities are in a proportional relationship, e.g., by testing for equivalent ratios in a table or graphing on a coordinate plane and observing whether the graph is a straight line through the origin.
  • 7.RP.2.b Identify the constant of proportionality (unit rate) in tables, graphs, equations, diagrams, and verbal descriptions of proportional relationships.

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.
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AIP Format
(The Science House: NC State University, Jacksonville, 2004), WWW Document, (http://www.thesciencehouse.org/empower-activities-with-technology/speed-trap.php).
The Science House: Speed Trap (The Science House: NC State University, Jacksonville, 2004), <http://www.thesciencehouse.org/empower-activities-with-technology/speed-trap.php>.
APA Format
The Science House: Speed Trap. (2006, September 10). Retrieved August 1, 2014, from The Science House: NC State University: http://www.thesciencehouse.org/empower-activities-with-technology/speed-trap.php
Chicago Format
The Science House: NC State University. The Science House: Speed Trap. Jacksonville: The Science House: NC State University, September 10, 2006. http://www.thesciencehouse.org/empower-activities-with-technology/speed-trap.php (accessed 1 August 2014).
MLA Format
The Science House: Speed Trap. Jacksonville: The Science House: NC State University, 2004. 10 Sep. 2006. 1 Aug. 2014 <http://www.thesciencehouse.org/empower-activities-with-technology/speed-trap.php>.
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@misc{ Title = {The Science House: Speed Trap}, Publisher = {The Science House: NC State University}, Volume = {2014}, Number = {1 August 2014}, Month = {September 10, 2006}, Year = {2004} }
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%T The Science House: Speed Trap
%D September 10, 2006
%I The Science House: NC State University
%C Jacksonville
%U http://www.thesciencehouse.org/empower-activities-with-technology/speed-trap.php
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D September 10, 2006
%T The Science House: Speed Trap
%I The Science House: NC State University
%V 2014
%N 1 August 2014
%8 September 10, 2006
%9 text/html
%U http://www.thesciencehouse.org/empower-activities-with-technology/speed-trap.php

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