Middle School Physical Science Teacher Guide


Features 23 core lab activities that cover the fundamental concepts of Force & Motion, Energy Transfer, Electricity & Circuits, Fluids and more.

Motion Graphs

Lab Summary

Use a motion sensor to measure the position of a moving object.


In this activity students discover the spatial meaning of such terms as "position," "fixed reference point," and "frame of reference." Students use the motion sensor to measure their motion and then kinesthetically match their motion with the motion represented on a position versus time graph. This activity prepares students for the concept of velocity, because it provides background experience with direction of motion as well as speed.

Students investigate their position and observe how it changes while:

  • Recognizing position as the distance and direction of an object relative to a fixed point of reference (or frame of reference)
  • Recognizing motion as the change in an object’s position
  • Relating the frame of reference to the location of the observer
  • Moving back and forth relative to the motion sensor, in order to match the pattern of their motion with the pattern on a target graph of position versus time
  • Using math skills to analyze motion represented by a specific position versus time graph
  • Gaining skills in using scientific measurement tools, the motion sensor, as well as the
    graphing capability of a computer to represent and analyze data


Students gain experience conducting the following procedures:

  • Setting up the equipment and work area to measure the position of a moving object
  • Walking backward and forward before the motion sensor to match a graph of position versus time as plotted by another student
  • Relate slope of a line with rate of speed, given distance and time

Your Bundle Options:

Option 1:

Middle School Physical Science Bundle


Equipment bundle for teaching 23 Middle School Physical Science Teacher Guide labs.

Option 2:

Middle School Science Standard Sensor Bundle


This bundle contains the probeware needed to perform all 49 lab activities in the Middle School Science through Inquiry lab manual.

Interface Required

This experiment may require software and an interface for data collection.