published by
the Concord Consortium
supported by
the National Science Foundation

This activity explores simple, straight-line motion by blending a motion sensor lab with student-generated digital graphs of distance versus time. First, learners use the online graph sketching tool to predict the motion of a person walking forward and backward over a 4-meter track in 30 seconds. Next, they try to reproduce their prediction graphs using a motion sensor to collect data. Finally, they analyze differences in slope between their original predictions and the actual data from the motion sensor.

Users must register to access full functionality of all the tools available with this resource, which include using and customizing the computational models, acquiring and sharing real-time data, and creating classroom fields for record-keeping and assessment.

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.

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)

Patterns (K-12)

Graphs and charts can be used to identify patterns in data. (6-8)

NGSS Science and Engineering Practices (K-12)

Developing and Using Models (K-12)

Modeling in 6â8 builds on Kâ5 and progresses to developing, using and revising models to describe, test, and predict more abstract phenomena and design systems. (6-8)

Develop a model to predict and/or describe phenomena. (6-8)

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

4. The Physical Setting

4F. Motion

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.

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.

11. Common Themes

11B. Models

6-8: 11B/M5. The usefulness of a model depends on how closely its behavior matches key aspects of what is being modeled. The only way to determine the usefulness of a model is to compare its behavior to the behavior of the real-world object, event, or process being modeled.

12. Habits of Mind

12C. Manipulation and Observation

3-5: 12C/E6. Use audio and video recording devices for capturing information.

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments

Standards for Mathematical Practice (K-12)

MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

Geometry (K-8)

Graph points on the coordinate plane to solve real-world and
mathematical problems. (5)

5.G.2 Represent real world and mathematical problems by graphing points in the first quadrant of the coordinate plane, and interpret coordinate values of points in the context of the situation.

Expressions and Equations (6-8)

Represent and analyze quantitative relationships between
dependent and independent variables. (6)

6.EE.9 Use variables to represent two quantities in a real-world problem that change in relationship to one another; write an equation to express one quantity, thought of as the dependent variable, in terms of the other quantity, thought of as the independent variable. Analyze the relationship between the dependent and independent variables using graphs and tables, and relate these to the equation.

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.4 Construct a function to model a linear relationship between two quantities. Determine the rate of change and initial value of the function from a description of a relationship or from two (x, y) values, including reading these from a table or from a graph. Interpret the rate of change and initial value of a linear function in terms of the situation it models, and in terms of its graph or a table of values.

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.

Common Core State Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects 6â12

Key Ideas and Details (6-12)

RST.6-8.3 Follow precisely a multistep procedure when carrying out experiments, taking measurements, or performing technical tasks.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas (6-12)

RST.6-8.7 Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph, or table).

Concord Consortium: Seeing Motion. (2017). Retrieved December 7, 2023, from The Concord Consortium: https://learn.concord.org/resources/662/seeing-motion

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