The Graphs and Tracks Model allows instructors to create custom models of a ball rolling on a track with a variable shape. This EJS model was inspired by the Graphs and Tracks program by David Trowbridge. Instructors set the heights of the track segments and the model displays the motion of the ball. Optional displays, including position and velocity graphs, energy graphs, and data tables, can be added depending on the learning goals for the activity. Documents can aslo be added to the model to provide student instructions or activities. The customized simulation is then saved as a new jar file that can be redistributed.

The Graphs and Tracks Model was created using the Easy Java Simulations (EJS) modeling tool. It is distributed as a ready-to-run (compiled) Java archive. Double clicking the jar file will run the program if Java is installed.

Please note that this resource requires
at least version 1.6 of
Java (JRE).

Graphs and Tracks: Additional Documentation Regarding Customization
A pdf file that provides additional documentation regarding customization of this simulation. download 185kb .pdf
Published: June 2, 2012
previous versions

Graphs and Tracks 3 Ramp Exploration
Exploration sheet for the Graphs and Tracks exploration exercise. download 110kb .pdf
Published: June 2, 2012
previous versions

Graphs and Tracks 3 Ramp Exploration Package
This launcher package provides 3 ramps for use with the Graphs and Tracks 3 Ramp Exploration. download 2224kb .jar
Published: June 2, 2012
previous versions

Graphs and Tracks Source Code
The source code zip archive contains an EJS-XML representation of the Graphs and Tracks Model. Unzip this archive in your EJS workspace to compile and run this model using EJS. download 27kb .zip
Last Modified: June 13, 2014
previous versions

Author: plulai
Posted: November 18, 2015 at 12:15PM
Source: The Open Source Physics collection

Hello. I have found 2 bug issues. I had students create a ramp with a height of 0 at the 0cm x-axis and a height of 10 units at the 20 cm x-axis position. Students set xo=20 and vo=0. For this setup, the x(t) graph shows the original position as 0 even though the graph and the [xo=0] box show the original position as 0. The x(t) graph then shows all following positions as negative values.

The acceleration graphs are really strange for most graphs. An object rolling on a straight ramp produces a(t) graphs that look like a stairwell.

Thanks for your work on the simulation and for sharing it with the community. Have a good one. Paul.

For the first issue, the graph that's being shown is not x(t), but displacement as a function of time: x(t) - x(0). That's why in your example, where the object starts at the maximum x, the graph is everywhere negative. It's possible to create an x(t) graph rather than, or in addition to, the displacement graph.

On the acceleration graph, the acceleration is a constant (g sin(theta)) in each interval between each node on the ramp. This gives the steps. Even if the ramp is nearly straight at one of the nodes, there will still be steps in the a(t) graph. This can look a little strange in several cases.

One sure way to get a constant acceleration is to change the number of movable nodes to 2, but setting N = 2 in the customization window. Give it a slope and you'll get constant acceleration.

6-8: 4E/M4. Energy appears in different forms and can be transformed within a system. Motion energy is associated with the speed of an object. Thermal energy is associated with the temperature of an object. Gravitational energy is associated with the height of an object above a reference point. Elastic energy is associated with the stretching or compressing of an elastic object. Chemical energy is associated with the composition of a substance. Electrical energy is associated with an electric current in a circuit. Light energy is associated with the frequency of electromagnetic waves.

9-12: 4E/H1. Although the various forms of energy appear very different, each can be measured in a way that makes it possible to keep track of how much of one form is converted into another. Whenever the amount of energy in one place diminishes, the amount in other places or forms increases by the same amount.

4F. Motion

3-5: 4F/E1a. Changes in speed or direction of motion are caused by forces.

3-5: 4F/E1bc. The greater the force is, the greater the change in motion will be. The more massive an object is, the less effect a given force will have.

NSES Content Standards

Con.B: Physical Science

5-8: Motion & Forces

9-12: Conservation of Energy & Increase in Disorder

<a href="https://www.compadre.org/introphys/items/detail.cfm?ID=12023">Christian, Wolfgang, and Mario Belloni. "Graphs and Tracks Model." Version 1.0.</a>

W. Christian and M. Belloni, Computer Program GRAPHS AND TRACKS MODEL, Version 1.0 (2012), WWW Document, (https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12023&DocID=2887).

W. Christian and M. Belloni, Computer Program GRAPHS AND TRACKS MODEL, Version 1.0 (2012), <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12023&DocID=2887>.

Christian, W., & Belloni, M. (2012). Graphs and Tracks Model (Version 1.0) [Computer software]. Retrieved February 25, 2020, from https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12023&DocID=2887

Christian, Wolfgang, and Mario Belloni. "Graphs and Tracks Model." Version 1.0. https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12023&DocID=2887 (accessed 25 February 2020).

%A Wolfgang Christian %A Mario Belloni %T Graphs and Tracks Model %D May 30, 2012 %U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12023&DocID=2887 %O 1.0 %O application/java

%0 Computer Program %A Christian, Wolfgang %A Belloni, Mario %D May 30, 2012 %T Graphs and Tracks Model %7 1.0 %8 May 30, 2012 %U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=12023&DocID=2887

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