Making Motion Matter

position versus time graph
In this activity, you will be looking at and interpreting position vs. time graphs and trying to use these graphs to describe the motion of the object that is being plotted.
coordinate plane with an arrow from the origin to a person standing up and to the right
"Position" refers to the location of a person or object. As we look at graphs in this activity, position will be measured by distance from a central point, the origin of the graph.
people moving in different directions, each with an arrow indicating which way they're going
"Velocity" is the change in position over time. Many people often think of velocity as the same thing as speed. That's only partially true. Velocity is a speed in a specific direction. In this activity, make sure to consider the direction of an object's movement, such as toward or away from the origin.
car leaving an intersection
"Acceleration" is the change in velocity over time. Like velocity, acceleration is not just a raw number; it has a direction, denoting either increasing or decreasing velocity. Consider riding in a car: you have to accelerate positively to make the car go faster (increase the velocity) and accelerate negatively (or "decelerate") to make the car go slower (decrease the velocity).

About this Assignment

In this assignment, you will:

  • Read a graph of position vs. time.
  • Describe the motion happening in a position vs. time graph.
  • Infer quantities of velocity and acceleration from position vs. time graphs.
  • Create a position vs. time graph from a given scenario.