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Graphical Analysis of Motion

Featured in PASCO’s Advanced Physics Teacher Guide

Lab Summary

Use a motion sensor to determine the position, velocity, acceleration, and time for a variety of motion types including constant velocity and constant acceleration in order to graphically determine their relationships.

Theory

The goal of this lab is to have students conduct an experiment that investigates graphical relationships between position, velocity, acceleration, and time for a variety of motion types including constant velocity and constant acceleration. The main objectives are for students to understand:

  • The three main types of motion (constant speed and positive and negative acceleration) and what they look like on position versus time, velocity versus time, and acceleration versus time graphs.
  • The meaning of the slope of each graph and how it relates to the other graphs.
  • The significance of the area under the velocity-time graph.

Method

Students gain experience conducting the following procedures:

  • Creating a position versus time graph for three types of motion.
  • "Matching the graph" by physically demonstrating the motion shown on a position-time graph.
  • Drawing velocity versus time and acceleration versus time graphs from position versus time graphs.
  • Interpreting the meaning of each graph and how it relates to the other two graphs.

 

Sensors / Equipment Used

SPARK Science Learning System (PS-2008A)

An all-in-one mobile device that seamlessly integrates the power of probeware with inquiry-based content.

PASPORT Motion Sensor (PS-2103A)

Accurately measures position, velocity, and acceleration of a target. For use with PASPORT Interfaces.

1.2 m PAScar Dynamics System (ME-6955)

Equip your lab with carts and a high-quality 1.2 m aluminum track.

Four Scale Meter Stick (SE-8695)

A convenient measuring device that includes four different metric scales of various precision.

The Associated Bundle