A surprising number of motions that we encounter in everyday life involve no acceleration or a constant acceleration. The kinematic equations provide us with a complete mathematical description of any object moving with a constant acceleration if we know its initial position, velocity and acceleration. But not all motions can be described using these equations. For this reason, is it important in the study of motion to know how to look at a motion and tell whether or not it involves a constant acceleration.


In this activity, you will

  • Examine video clips of several objects in motion along a line, including a bicycle and rider, two carts moving on separate tracks, and a mass on a small spring.
  • Study the motion of these objects and determine which objects, if any, are undergoing constant accelerations.