This unique activity presents eleven interactive challenges designed to help students master motion graphing. Each challenge requires the student to match the motion of an animated car to the correct position/time or velocity/time graph. After all matches have been completed, students check their answers and try again in case of a mismatch.

Editor's Note: Physics education research shows that students often enter college courses with limited understanding of the meaning behind velocity vs. time graphs and position vs. time graphs. This engaging activity lets them explore motion graphs in a low-risk environment, with enough repetition to construct a meaningful understanding of why the graphs appear as they do (essential for success in a college physics course). The activity sheet allows teachers to insert the animation quickly into existing lessons.

This resource is part of The Physics Classroom web site, a growing collection of resources for teachers and learners of introductory physics.

Please note that this resource requires
Shockwave.

constant velocity, displacement, formative assessment, graphing animations, graphing assessment, interactive animations, language of motion, motion animations, position vs. time, velocity, velocity vs. time

Record Cloner:

Metadata instance created April 18, 2011
by Caroline Hall

6-8: 4F/M3a. An unbalanced force acting on an object changes its speed or direction of motion, or both.

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.

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments

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 — Number and Quantity (9-12)

Vector and Matrix Quantities (9-12)

N-VM.1 (+) Recognize vector quantities as having both magnitude and direction. Represent vector quantities by directed line segments, and use appropriate symbols for vectors and their magnitudes (e.g., v, |v|, ||v||, v).

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.^{?}

Linear, Quadratic, and Exponential Models^{?} (9-12)

F-LE.1.b Recognize situations in which one quantity changes at a constant rate per unit interval relative to another.

F-LE.3 Observe using graphs and tables that a quantity increasing exponentially eventually exceeds a quantity increasing linearly, quadratically, or (more generally) as a polynomial function.

<a href="https://www.compadre.org/portal/items/detail.cfm?ID=11158">Henderson, Tom. The Physics Classroom: Graph That Motion Activity Sheet. February 28, 2011.</a>

Henderson, T. (2011, February 28). The Physics Classroom: Graph That Motion Activity Sheet. Retrieved December 2, 2023, from https://www.physicsclassroom.com/shwave/gtmintro.cfm

Henderson, Tom. The Physics Classroom: Graph That Motion Activity Sheet. February 28, 2011. https://www.physicsclassroom.com/shwave/gtmintro.cfm (accessed 2 December 2023).

%A Tom Henderson %T The Physics Classroom: Graph That Motion Activity Sheet %D February 28, 2011 %U https://www.physicsclassroom.com/shwave/gtmintro.cfm %O application/shockwave

%0 Electronic Source %A Henderson, Tom %D February 28, 2011 %T The Physics Classroom: Graph That Motion Activity Sheet %V 2023 %N 2 December 2023 %8 February 28, 2011 %9 application/shockwave %U https://www.physicsclassroom.com/shwave/gtmintro.cfm

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A similar interactive activity in which students match the motion of an animated car to the language that best describes the motion. Appropriate for middle school and high school.

This interactive tutorial allows students to use a SmartGraph tool to predict the slope of motion graphs, then use real-time data to analyze the real motion and reflect on the accuracy of their predictions.