Featured in PASCO’s Physics through Inquiry Teacher Guide

Physics through Inquiry Teacher Guide


Features over 30 inquiry based labs covering the core topic areas of mechanics, electricity and magnetism, optics, thermodynamics and more.

Relative Motion

Lab Summary

Use a motion sensor to apply the concepts of relative motion and frames of reference to understanding velocity as a vector quantity in one-dimensional motion.


Students are introduced to the concept of relative motion and frames of reference. Students:

  • Analyze and draw inferences from graphs of the relative velocity between two carts.
  • Build a foundational understanding of the meaning of velocity as a vector quantity in one dimensional motion.


Students will gain experience conducting the following procedures:

  • Measuring the relative velocities between two constant velocity carts as the carts move away from and towards each other.
  • Analyzing the graphs of Position versus Time for the various motions, and drawing conclusions about how these speeds are measured with the various carts in motion in both directions.

Sensors / Equipment Used:

PASPORT Motion Sensor


The PASPORT Motion Sensor accurately measures position, velocity, and acceleration of a target. Can be used to track the motion of carts, balls, people and more.

Your Bundle Options:

Option 1:

Physics Starter Sensor Bundle


A sensor bundle specifically designed to get you started using probeware in your physics lab. Also: perform 26 of the 37 Lab Activities from Physics through Inquiry.

Option 2:

Physics Standard Sensor Bundle


Contains the probeware needed to perform all 37 lab activities in the Physics through Inquiry lab manual.

Interface Required

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