Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Constant Motion and Changing Motion

Figure from experiment 1 from Physics Explorations and Projects


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.

Learning Outcomes

  • 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.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Option 1

Option 2

Option 3

Option 4

Option 5

Additional Requirements

You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?

Next Generation Science Standards

Disciplinary Core Ideas

  • PS2.A Forces and Motion
  • PS2.B Types of Interactions

Crosscutting Concepts

  • Patterns
  • Cause and Effect
  • Systems and System Models

Science and Engineering Practices

  • Planning and carrying out investigations
  • Analyzing and interpreting data
  • Using mathematics and computational thinking
  • Constructing explanations and designing solutions
  • Science models, laws, mechanisms, and theories explain natural phenomena

Physics Explorations and Projects

See other experiments from the lab book.

1Constant Motion and Changing Motion
2Balanced Forces and Unbalanced Forces
3Gravitation on Earth
4Newton’s Second Law
5Projectile Challenge
6Impulse and Momentum
7Equilibrium of Forces
8Circular Motion
9Conservation of Momentum
10Egg Protection Challenge
11Springs Making Things Move
12Kinetic Energy and Mass
13Work and Kinetic Energy
14Work Done by Gravity
15Energy in Collisions
16Rube Goldberg Machine
17Charge and Charge Models
18Coulomb's Law
19Measuring Electric Current
20Conservation of Charge
21Voltage in a Circuit
22Battery Challenge
23Magnetic Field of a Current
24Current from a Changing Field
25Generating Electricity
27Wave Speed on a String
28Speed of Sound
29Interference and Diffraction
30Sound and Loudness
31Wave Communication Challenge
32Energy Storage in Capacitors
34Heat as Energy Transfer
35Solar Cells
36Rube Goldberg Machine Revisited

Experiment 1 from Physics Explorations and Projects Lab Book

<i>Physics Explorations and Projects</i> book cover

Included in the Lab Book

Vernier lab books include word-processing files of the student instructions, essential teacher information, suggested answers, sample data and graphs, and more.

Buy the Book

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