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Video Modeling with Tracker
written by Douglas Brown
The Tracker video analysis and modeling program enables students to create simple particle model simulations based on Newton's laws and to compare their behavior directly with that of real-world objects captured on video. Tracker's "model builder" provides a gentle introduction to dynamic modeling by making it easy to define and modify force expressions, parameter values and initial conditions while hiding the numerical algorithm details. Because the model simulations synchronize with and draw themselves right on the video, students can test their models experimentally by direct visual inspection, a process that is both intuitive and discerning. This leads them to move from a paradigm of "problem solving" to one of "model building and testing" that reflects more closely the activities of professional physicists. Tracker is part of the Open Source Physics project.

Tracker is available at <> or from the comPADRE Open Source Physics collection at <>. Partial funding was provided by NSF grant DUE-0442581.

Please note that this resource requires at least version 5 of Java (JRE).
AAPT 2009 Summer Meeting
Ann Arbor, Michigan: July 25-29, 2009
1 supplemental document is available
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Applications of Newton's Laws
- Gravity
= Orbits
= Universal Gravitation
- Motion in One Dimension
- Motion in Two Dimensions
- Newton's Second Law
Education Practices
- Active Learning
= Modeling
- Curriculum Development
= Laboratory
- Technology
= Computers
General Physics
- Computational Physics
Oscillations & Waves
- Oscillations
- Lower Undergraduate
- High School
- Upper Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Instructor Guide/Manual
= Laboratory
= Model
- Reference Material
= Proceedings
- Tool
= Software
Intended Users Formats Ratings
- Educators
- Learners
- application/pdf
- application/java
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Access Rights:
Free access
© 2009 Douglas Brown
NSF Number:
video analysis
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created December 2, 2009 by Douglas Brown
Record Updated:
February 24, 2016 by Wolfgang Christian
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
D. Brown, presented at the AAPT 2009 Summer Meeting, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2009, WWW Document, (
D. Brown, Video Modeling with Tracker, presented at the AAPT 2009 Summer Meeting, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 2009, <>.
APA Format
Brown, D. (2009, July 25-29). Video Modeling with Tracker. Paper presented at AAPT 2009 Summer Meeting, Ann Arbor, Michigan. Retrieved January 16, 2017, from
Chicago Format
Brown, Douglas. "Video Modeling with Tracker." Paper presented at the AAPT 2009 Summer Meeting, Ann Arbor, Michigan, July 25-29, 2009. (accessed 16 January 2017).
MLA Format
Brown, Douglas. "Video Modeling with Tracker." AAPT 2009 Summer Meeting. Ann Arbor, Michigan: 2009. 16 Jan. 2017 <>.
BibTeX Export Format
@inproceedings{ Author = "Douglas Brown", Title = {Video Modeling with Tracker}, BookTitle = {AAPT 2009 Summer Meeting}, Address = {Ann Arbor, Michigan}, Month = {July 25-29}, Year = {2009} }
Refer Export Format

%A Douglas Brown
%T Video Modeling with Tracker
%D July 25-29 2009
%C Ann Arbor, Michigan
%O AAPT 2009 Summer Meeting
%O July 25-29
%O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Conference Proceedings
%A Brown, Douglas
%D July 25-29 2009
%T Video Modeling with Tracker
%B AAPT 2009 Summer Meeting
%C Ann Arbor, Michigan
%8 July 25-29

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