the Concord Consortium
the National Science Foundation
This middle school activity blends a motion sensor lab with a digital "SmartGraph" tool to help learners understand how forward, fast, and slow motions look on a graph of Position vs. Time. The activity requires a Vernier Go! motion device, which provides inputs to the SmartGraph interface via a USB connection. First, learners record their own movements back and forth, at varying speeds. With hints from the interactive SmartGraph, students explore how the motion appears on a Position vs. Time graph, then work to analyze what they see on the screen. This resource includes a 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. The Concord Consortium develops deeply digital learning innovations for science, mathematics, and engineering.
Please note that this resource requires
Editor's Note:This resource is the first of a series of sequenced SmartGraph activities, developed to promote deeper conceptual understanding of graphs and the relationships they symbolize. Users must register on The Concord Consortium to access full functionality of all the tools available with SmartGraphs. The Vernier Go! motion sensor with USB port may be purchased for ~$100.
1D motion, P/T graph, Position vs. Time, Position/Time graph, digital grapher, displacement, distance graphs, graph sketcher, graph tool, motion, motion graph, motion graphing, motion models, one-dimensional motion, velocity graphs
Metadata instance created
April 26, 2012
by Caroline Hall
August 14, 2016
by Lyle Barbato
AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)
4. The Physical Setting
3-5: 4F/E1a. Changes in speed or direction of motion are caused by forces.
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
3-5: 9B/E2. Tables and graphs can show how values of one quantity are related to values of another.
Next Generation Science Standards
Disciplinary Core Ideas (K-12)
Forces and Motion (PS2.A)
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)
Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)
Graphs and charts can be used to identify patterns in data. (6-8)
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices (K-12)
Analyzing and Interpreting Data (K-12)
Analyzing data in 6–8 builds on K–5 and progresses to extending quantitative analysis to investigations, distinguishing between correlation and causation, and basic statistical techniques of data and error analysis. (6-8)
Analyze displays of data to identify linear and nonlinear relationships. (6-8)
Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions (K-12)
Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to include constructing explanations and designing solutions supported by multiple sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories. (6-8)
Construct an explanation that includes qualitative or quantitative relationships between variables that predict phenomena. (6-8)
Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for real-world phenomena, examples, or events. (6-8)
Construct a scientific explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from sources (including the students' own experiments) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future. (6-8)
Developing and Using Models (K-12)
Modeling in 6–8 builds on K–5 and progresses to developing, using and revising models to describe, test, and predict more abstract phenomena and design systems. (6-8)
Develop and use a model to describe phenomena. (6-8)
Planning and Carrying Out Investigations (K-12)
Planning and carrying out investigations to answer questions or test solutions to problems in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to include investigations that use multiple variables and provide evidence to support explanations or design solutions. (6-8)
Conduct an investigation to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence that meet the goals of an investigation. (6-8)
Collect data to produce data to serve as the basis for evidence to answer scientific questions or test design solutions under a range of conditions. (6-8)
Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments
Standards for Mathematical Practice (K-12)
MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
MP.5 Use appropriate tools strategically.
Expressions and Equations (6-8)
Understand the connections between proportional relationships,
lines, and linear equations. (8)
8.EE.5 Graph proportional relationships, interpreting the unit rate as the slope of the graph. Compare two different proportional relationships represented in different ways.
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.
This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.
Topic: Kinematics: The Physics of Motion Unit Title: Velocity and Acceleration
This middle school activity blends a motion sensor lab with a digital "SmartGraph" tool to help learners understand how forward, fast, and slow motions look on a graph of Position vs. Time. The activity requires a Vernier Go! motion device, which provides inputs to the SmartGraph interface via a USB connection.
%0 Electronic Source %D 2010 %T SmartGraphs: Maria's Run %I The Concord Consortium %V 2017 %N 16 January 2017 %9 application/java %U https://concord.org/stem-resources/marias-run
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