Students should finish this activity with a clear model of the difference between constant-velocity motion and constantly accelerated motion, as well as a mathematical model for constant-velocity motion (x = vt + x0). They may or may not be ready for a mathematical model of accelerated motion.
In the Preliminary Observations, students observe a cart rolling on a level track after a brief push and a cart rolling down an inclined track. This may be done as a whole class activity or in lab groups.
During the subsequent inquiry process, students may use video analysis, a Motion Detector, a Motion Encoder, or a Sensor Cart to collect data for the moving cart. This investigation should result in graphs of position vs. time or velocity vs. time (or both) for a constant-velocity object and an object undergoing constant, non-zero acceleration.
- Identify variables, design and perform investigations, collect data, analyze data, draw a conclusion, and formulate a model based on data from the investigation.
- Create graphical representations of motion for an object moving at constant velocity.
- Create a mathematical model of motion for an object moving at constant velocity.
- Create graphical representations of motion for an object that is speeding up.
- Optional: Create a mathematical model of motion for an object that is speeding up.