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Vernier Software and Technology
Vernier Software & Technology

Graph Matching

Figure from experiment 1 from Physics with Vernier


One of the most effective methods of describing motion is to plot graphs of position, velocity, and acceleration vs. time. From such a graphical representation, it is possible to determine in what direction an object is going, how fast it is moving, how far it traveled, and whether it is speeding up or slowing down. In this experiment, you will use a Motion Detector to determine this information by plotting a real-time graph of your motion as you move across the classroom.

The Motion Detector measures the time it takes for a high-frequency sound pulse to travel from the detector to an object and back. Using this round-trip time and the speed of sound, the interface can determine the distance to the object; that is, its position. It can then use the change in position to calculate the object’s velocity and acceleration. All of this information can be displayed in a graph. A qualitative analysis of the graphs of your motion will help you develop an understanding of the concepts of kinematics.


  • Analyze the motion of a student walking across the room.
  • Predict, sketch, and test position vs. time kinematics graphs.
  • Predict, sketch, and test velocity vs. time kinematics graphs.

Sensors and Equipment

This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.

Additional Requirements

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

Standards Correlations

See all standards correlations for Physics with Vernier »

Experiment 1 from Physics with Vernier Lab Book

<i>Physics with Vernier</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.

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We will be closed on August 21 to allow our employees to enjoy the Great American Eclipse.