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published by the Physics Education Technology Project
written by Trish Loeblein
This is an inquiry-based module developed for use with the PhET simulation "The Moving Man".  A PhET Gold Star winning resource, the module was created by a high school teacher to help students build skills in interpreting graphs of motion.  It consists of multiple concept questions in downloadable Power Point format, pre-lab and post-lab student assessments, printable student guidelines, and a lesson plan for teachers.  

See Related Materials for a link to "The Moving Man" simulation that accompanies this lesson plan.

Please note that this resource requires at least version 1.4, Java WebStart of Java.

Additional context for this material is provided by the ComPADRE-SERC Pedagogic Service.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Motion in One Dimension
= Acceleration
= Position & Displacement
= Velocity
- High School
- Instructional Material
= Activity
= Lecture/Presentation
= Lesson/Lesson Plan
= Student Guide
- Assessment Material
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Lesson Plan
- Activity
- Assessment
- New teachers
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Free access
© 2005 Physics Education Technology, University of Colorado
Additional information is available.
Link to Material
acceleration, equation, graph, graph interpretation, inquiry, kinematics, lesson plan, module, position, velocity
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created November 15, 2008 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
August 18, 2016 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
November 1, 2008

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4F. Motion
  • 6-8: 4F/M3a. An unbalanced force acting on an object changes its speed or direction of motion, or both.

9. The Mathematical World

9B. Symbolic Relationships
  • 6-8: 9B/M3. Graphs can show a variety of possible relationships between two variables. As one variable increases uniformly, the other may do one of the following: increase or decrease steadily, increase or decrease faster and faster, get closer and closer to some limiting value, reach some intermediate maximum or minimum, alternately increase and decrease, increase or decrease in steps, or do something different from any of these.
  • 9-12: 9B/H4. Tables, graphs, and symbols are alternative ways of representing data and relationships that can be translated from one to another.

Next Generation Science Standards

Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions (HS-PS2)

Students who demonstrate understanding can: (9-12)
  • Analyze data to support the claim that Newton's second law of motion describes the mathematical relationship among the net force on a macroscopic object, its mass, and its acceleration. (HS-PS2-1)

Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)

Forces and Motion (PS2.A)
  • The motion of an object is determined by the sum of the forces acting on it; if the total force on the object is not zero, its motion will change. The greater the mass of the object, the greater the force needed to achieve the same change in motion. For any given object, a larger force causes a larger change in motion. (6-8)
  • All positions of objects and the directions of forces and motions must be described in an arbitrarily chosen reference frame and arbitrarily chosen units of size. In order to share information with other people, these choices must also be shared. (6-8)

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments

Functions (8)

Use functions to model relationships between quantities. (8)
  • 8.F.5 Describe qualitatively the functional relationship between two quantities by analyzing a graph (e.g., where the function is increasing or decreasing, linear or nonlinear). Sketch a graph that exhibits the qualitative features of a function that has been described verbally.

High School — Functions (9-12)

Interpreting Functions (9-12)
  • F-IF.4 For a function that models a relationship between two quantities, interpret key features of graphs and tables in terms of the quantities, and sketch graphs showing key features given a verbal description of the relationship.?
  • F-IF.5 Relate the domain of a function to its graph and, where applicable, to the quantitative relationship it describes.?

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.

Topic: Kinematics: The Physics of Motion
Unit Title: Graphing

This is a PhET Gold Star winning lesson that helps students build skills in interpreting graphs of motion.  It accompanies the PhET simulation "The Moving Man" (see link below) and includes classroom-ready Power Point concept questions, student guide, and assessments.

Link to Unit:
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Record Link
AIP Format
T. Loeblein, (Physics Education Technology Project, Boulder, 2005), WWW Document, (https://phet.colorado.edu/en/contributions/view/2818).
T. Loeblein, PhET Teacher Ideas & Activities: Moving Man, (Physics Education Technology Project, Boulder, 2005), <https://phet.colorado.edu/en/contributions/view/2818>.
APA Format
Loeblein, T. (2008, November 1). PhET Teacher Ideas & Activities: Moving Man. Retrieved February 21, 2017, from Physics Education Technology Project: https://phet.colorado.edu/en/contributions/view/2818
Chicago Format
Loeblein, Trish. PhET Teacher Ideas & Activities: Moving Man. Boulder: Physics Education Technology Project, November 1, 2008. https://phet.colorado.edu/en/contributions/view/2818 (accessed 21 February 2017).
MLA Format
Loeblein, Trish. PhET Teacher Ideas & Activities: Moving Man. Boulder: Physics Education Technology Project, 2005. 1 Nov. 2008. 21 Feb. 2017 <https://phet.colorado.edu/en/contributions/view/2818>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Trish Loeblein", Title = {PhET Teacher Ideas & Activities: Moving Man}, Publisher = {Physics Education Technology Project}, Volume = {2017}, Number = {21 February 2017}, Month = {November 1, 2008}, Year = {2005} }
Refer Export Format

%A Trish Loeblein
%T PhET Teacher Ideas & Activities: Moving Man
%D November 1, 2008
%I Physics Education Technology Project
%C Boulder
%U https://phet.colorado.edu/en/contributions/view/2818
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%A Loeblein, Trish
%D November 1, 2008
%T PhET Teacher Ideas & Activities: Moving Man
%I Physics Education Technology Project
%V 2017
%N 21 February 2017
%8 November 1, 2008
%9 text/html
%U https://phet.colorado.edu/en/contributions/view/2818

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PhET Teacher Ideas & Activities: Moving Man:

Accompanies PhET Simulation: The Moving Man

This is the PhET simulation which this lesson plan was designed to accompany.

relation by Caroline Hall

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