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This lab uses Tracker 4.0 video analysis software to measure and analyze the motion of two carts. Cart 1 has constant acceleration, and Cart 2 has constant velocity. Students are asked to predict the motion of each cart in the reference frame of the other cart. Tracker can be used to change the reference frame to one of the carts and update the graphs. Students measure the relative motion of the other cart and determine whether the reference frame is inertial or non-inertial.
Topics taught in this lab activity include Newton's first law, Newton's second law, reference frames, and the definition of an inertial reference frame.
This video, in conjunction with Tracker's ability to change reference frames, is ideal as an Interactive Lecture Demonstration. The lab questions can be used as ILD questions in lecture. When you ask students to predict the motion of a cart in the reference frame of the other cart, lively discussion will ensue. Teachers can also easily adapt the exercise for Clicker Questions during lecture.
The zip file contains the lab handout, a video showing the motion of two carts, and the Tracker file. The video is copyrighted by RIT and was produced by the LivePhoto Physics Series.
To open the Tracker file, download and run Tracker 4.0. Tracker is free.
The video can be used with other video analysis software; however, the handout has screen captures from Tracker and instructions specifically written for Tracker.
Last Modified July 21, 2011