published by the Physics Education Technology Project
Available Languages: English, Spanish
This is an interactive simulation created to help beginners differentiate velocity and acceleration vectors. The user can move a ball with the mouse or let the simulation move the ball in four modes of motion (two types of linear, simple harmonic, and circular). Two vectors are displayed -- one green and one blue. As the motion of the ball changes, the vectors also change. Which color represents velocity and which acceleration?
Editor's Note: This simulation was designed with improvements based on research of student interaction with the PhET resource "Ladybug Revolution". The authors added two new features for the beginning learner: linear acceleration and harmonic motion.
This item is part of a larger and growing collection of resources developed by the Physics Education Technology project (PhET), each designed to implement principles of physics education research.
Please note that this resource requires Java Applet Plug-in.
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)
4. The Physical Setting
11. Common Themes
Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments
High School — Number and Quantity (9-12)
Vector and Matrix Quantities (9-12)
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PhET Simulation: Motion in 2D:
Is Required By PhET Teacher Activities: Vectors Simulations Lab
An editor-recommended virtual lab, authored by a high school teacher specifically for use with the Motion in 2D simulation.relation by Caroline Hall
Is Supplemented By The Physics Classroom: Vectors - Fundamentals and Operations
A self-directed tutorial for deeper exploration of vector direction, with problem sets and related animation.relation by Caroline Hall
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