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## Website Detail Page

written by Tom Henderson
This 3-part tutorial, developed for high school physics students, uses multiple graphs to study the relationship between the motion of an object and the shape of its p-t graph. Special attention is given to the meaning of the graph's shape to help beginners differentiate constant velocity from accelerated motion. The slope equation is illustrated in an interactive format allowing for learner self-evaluation.  The tutorial is designed in a manner to help dispel common student misconceptions about the meaning of position. See Related Materials for an accompanying lab by the same author.

This item is part of The Physics Classroom, a comprehensive set of tutorials and multimedia resources for high school physics students.
Editor's Note: Education research indicates that students have difficulty relating real-world motion to a graph. In particular, many incorrectly plot position graphs as the path of an object. See Related Materials for a free research-based diagnostic tool to probe misconceptions related to motion and force.
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Classical Mechanics
- Motion in One Dimension
= Position & Displacement
- High School
- Instructional Material
= Tutorial
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physical Science
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
• Currently 0.0/5

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Intended User:
Learner
Format:
text/html
Access Rights:
Free access
Restriction:
© 1996 Tom Henderson
Additional information is available.
Keywords:
displacement, misconceptions, motion graphs, p-t graphs, position, position vs. time graphs, tutorial
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created November 4, 2005 by Amin Parnian
Record Updated:
January 9, 2014 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
December 15, 2007

### 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.
• 9-12: 4F/H1. The change in motion (direction or speed) of an object is proportional to the applied force and inversely proportional to the mass.
• 9-12: 4F/H8. Any object maintains a constant speed and direction of motion unless an unbalanced outside force acts on it.

#### 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.
9C. Shapes
• 6-8: 9C/M4. The graphic display of numbers may help to show patterns such as trends, varying rates of change, gaps, or clusters that are useful when making predictions about the phenomena being graphed.

### Next Generation Science Standards

#### Crosscutting Concepts (K-12)

Patterns (K-12)
• Graphs and charts can be used to identify patterns in data. (6-8)
• Patterns can be used to identify cause and effect relationships. (6-8)

#### NGSS Science and Engineering Practices (K-12)

Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking (5-12)
• Mathematical and computational thinking at the 9–12 level builds on K–8 and progresses to using algebraic thinking and analysis, a range of linear and nonlinear functions including trigonometric functions, exponentials and logarithms, and computational tools for statistical analysis to analyze, represent, and model data. Simple computational simulations are created and used based on mathematical models of basic assumptions. (9-12)
• Use mathematical representations of phenomena to describe explanations. (9-12)

### Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments

#### Standards for Mathematical Practice (K-12)

MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

#### 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.

#### 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.?

### Common Core State Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects 6—12

Craft and Structure (6-12)
• RST.9-10.4 Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context relevant to grades 9—10 texts and topics.
• RST.9-10.5 Analyze the structure of the relationships among concepts in a text, including relationships among key terms (e.g., force, friction, reaction force, energy).
Range of Reading and Level of Text Complexity (6-12)
• RST.9-10.10 By the end of grade 10, read and comprehend science/technical texts in the grades 9—10 text complexity band independently and proficiently.

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.

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

Excellent self-guided tutorial promotes understanding of "position" as a physics concept.  Contains multiple graphs, animations, and interactive opportunities for students to test their comprehension.

ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

AIP Format
T. Henderson, (1996), WWW Document, (http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/1DKin/U1L3a.cfm).
AJP/PRST-PER
T. Henderson, The Physics Classroom: Describing Motion with Position vs. Time Graphs, (1996), <http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/1DKin/U1L3a.cfm>.
APA Format
Henderson, T. (2007, December 15). The Physics Classroom: Describing Motion with Position vs. Time Graphs. Retrieved September 27, 2016, from http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/1DKin/U1L3a.cfm
Chicago Format
Henderson, Tom. The Physics Classroom: Describing Motion with Position vs. Time Graphs. December 15, 2007. http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/1DKin/U1L3a.cfm (accessed 27 September 2016).
MLA Format
Henderson, Tom. The Physics Classroom: Describing Motion with Position vs. Time Graphs. 1996. 15 Dec. 2007. 27 Sep. 2016 <http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/1DKin/U1L3a.cfm>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Tom Henderson", Title = {The Physics Classroom: Describing Motion with Position vs. Time Graphs}, Volume = {2016}, Number = {27 September 2016}, Month = {December 15, 2007}, Year = {1996} }
Refer Export Format

%A Tom Henderson
%T The Physics Classroom: Describing Motion with Position vs. Time Graphs
%D December 15, 2007
%U http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/1DKin/U1L3a.cfm
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%A Henderson, Tom
%D December 15, 2007
%T The Physics Classroom: Describing Motion with Position vs. Time Graphs
%V 2016
%N 27 September 2016
%8 December 15, 2007
%9 text/html
%U http://www.physicsclassroom.com/Class/1DKin/U1L3a.cfm

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Citation Source Information

The AIP Style presented is based on information from the AIP Style Manual.

The APA Style presented is based on information from APA Style.org: Electronic References.

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The MLA Style presented is based on information from the MLA FAQ.

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### The Physics Classroom: Describing Motion with Position vs. Time Graphs:

Accompanies P/T Graphing Lab

Teacher's Guide to a P/T graphing lab by the same author that supplements this tutorial. Requires motion detectors.

relation by Caroline Hall
Covers the Same Topic As Student Difficulties in Physics Information Center

An annotated list of documented student misconceptions related to concepts of position, velocity, and acceleration.  Contains probative questions to elicit and address the misconceptions.

relation by Caroline Hall

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### Related Materials

Accompanies Covers the Same Topic As