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published by the Concord Consortium
supported by the National Science Foundation
This web-based graphing activity explores the similarities and differences between Velocity vs. Time and Position vs. Time graphs. It interactively accepts user inputs in creating "prediction graphs", then provides real-time animations of the process being analyzed. Learners will annotate graphs to explain changes in motion, respond to question sets, and analyze why the two types of graphs appear as they do. It is appropriate for secondary physical science courses, and may also be used for remediation in preparatory high school physics courses. Resource includes interactive activity, lesson plan, and assessment with answer key.
This item is part of the Concord Consortium, a nonprofit research and development organization dedicated to transforming education through technology. Users must register to access full functionality of all the tools available with SmartGraphs, which includes authoring tools for teachers wishing to customize SmartGraph content.
Please note that this resource requires Java.
Editor's Note: Physics education research shows that students often enter college courses with limited understanding of the meaning behind velocity vs. time graphs and position vs. time graphs. This engaging activity gives learners a challenge, then lets them construct meaning for themselves. SmartGraphs provides scaffolding while pushing students to learn from mistakes. The pedagogy is being classroom tested.
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)
2. The Nature of Mathematics
2A. Patterns and Relationships
4. The Physical Setting
9. The Mathematical World
9B. Symbolic Relationships
11. Common Themes
Next Generation Science Standards
Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)
Forces and Motion (PS2.A)
Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)
Cause and Effect (K-12)
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices (K-12)
Analyzing and Interpreting Data (K-12)
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions (K-12)
Developing and Using Models (K-12)
Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking (5-12)
Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments
Standards for Mathematical Practice (K-12)
MP.4 Model with mathematics.
Use functions to model relationships between quantities. (8)
High School — Algebra (9-12)
Reasoning with Equations and Inequalities (9-12)
High School — Functions (9-12)
Interpreting Functions (9-12)
High School — Statistics and Probability? (9-12)
Interpreting Categorical and Quantitative Data (9-12)
Making Inferences and Justifying Conclusions (9-12)
This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.
Topic: Kinematics: The Physics of Motion
Unit Title: Velocity and Acceleration
This robust activity from Concord Consortium lets kids deeply explore the meaning behind the slopes of velocity/time and position/time graphs. It blends interactive graph sketching, data analysis, and digital Q&A as learners explore the motion of an animated car. It will help students understand why motion graphs appear as they do, rather than mimic the pathway of an object's motion.Link to Unit:
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SmartGraphs: Describing Velocity:
Covers the Same Topic As The Physics Classroom: The Meaning of Shape for a v-t Graph
This high-quality interactive tutorial provides content support for K-8 teachers on the topic of Velocity vs. Time graphs.relation by Caroline Hall
Is Supplemented By Conceptual Development About Motion and Force in Elementary and Middle School Students
This cost-free article describes results of research in Grades 4, 6, and 8 on student understanding of motion. Findings suggest that students as young as Grade 6 can, with instruction, change entrenched incorrect concepts to construct accurate ideas about force and motion.relation by Caroline Hall
Covers the Same Topic As Tutorials in Physics Sense-Making: Catching Mistakes: The Case of Motion Graphs
This is a microcomputer-based motion lab developed for cooperative learning groups. Students collaborate to predict shape of motion graphs, then analyze their own misconceptions.relation by Caroline Hall
Is Part Of Concord Consortium: SmartGraphs
A link to the full collection of SmartGraph interactive activities.relation by Caroline Hall
Covers the Same Topic As The Physics Classroom: Describing Motion with Position vs. Time Graphs
A straightforward tutorial that provides content support for K-8 teachers on the meaning of shape for a Position vs. Time graph.relation by Caroline Hall
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