written by
Eugenia Etkina
supported by
the National Science Foundation

This learning cycle features 19 videotaped experiments, organized sequentially for introducing fundamentals of motion in introductory physics courses. Each video includes learning goal, prior information needed to understand the material, and elicitation questions. Topics include constant velocity, constant acceleration, falling objects, projectiles, and the physics of juggling. The instructional method is based on cognitive apprenticeship, in which students focus on the process of science by observing, finding patterns, modeling, predicting, testing, and revising. The materials were designed to mirror the activities of scientists when they construct and apply knowledge.

See Related Materials for links to the full collection by the same authors and for free access to an article explaining the theoretical basis for this instructional method.

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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.

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/H7. In most familiar situations, frictional forces complicate the description of motion, although the basic principles still apply.

9-12: 4F/H8. Any object maintains a constant speed and direction of motion unless an unbalanced outside force acts on it.

4G. Forces of Nature

3-5: 4G/E1. The earth's gravity pulls any object on or near the earth toward it without touching it.

9. The Mathematical World

9B. Symbolic Relationships

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

9-12: 9C/H3c. A graph represents all the values that satisfy an equation, and if two equations have to be satisfied at the same time, the values that satisfy them both will be found where the graphs intersect.

12. Habits of Mind

12C. Manipulation and Observation

6-8: 12C/M3. Make accurate measurements of length, volume, weight, elapsed time, rates, and temperature by using appropriate devices.

12D. Communication Skills

6-8: 12D/M6. Present a brief scientific explanation orally or in writing that includes a claim and the evidence and reasoning that supports the claim.

Common Core State Standards for Mathematics Alignments

Standards for Mathematical Practice (K-12)

MP.2 Reason abstractly and quantitatively.

High School — Functions (9-12)

Interpreting Functions (9-12)

F-IF.7.a Graph linear and quadratic functions and show intercepts, maxima, and minima.

F-IF.9 Compare properties of two functions each represented in a different way (algebraically, graphically, numerically in tables, or by verbal descriptions).

Building Functions (9-12)

F-BF.1.a Determine an explicit expression, a recursive process, or steps for calculation from a context.

F-BF.3 Identify the effect on the graph of replacing f(x) by f(x) + k, k f(x), f(kx), and f(x + k) for specific values of k (both positive and negative); find the value of k given the graphs. Experiment with cases and illustrate an explanation of the effects on the graph using technology. Include recognizing even and odd functions from their graphs and algebraic expressions for them.

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

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.

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.

Topic: Kinematics: The Physics of Motion Unit Title: Motion in More Than One Dimension

19 videotaped experiments are organized sequentially here for introducing fundamentals of motion in introductory physics classes. The instructional method is based on cognitive apprenticeship: students focus on the process of science by observing, finding patterns, modeling, testing, and revising. The author is a highly-respected professor of physics, who has done extensive work in physics education research.

Etkina, E. (2008, September 19). Physics Teaching Technology Resource: Learning Cycles on Motion. Retrieved November 21, 2019, from http://paer.rutgers.edu/pt3/cycleindex.php?topicid=2

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This is the website for ISLE (Investigative Science Learning Environment), the instructional approach upon which the Rutgers learning cycles for introductory physics are based.