Investigating Motion

In these activities, students investigate how a range of different objects (including themselves) move.

The Space Shuttle

This worksheet explains how to use Excel to process data and to draw graphs. Students draw a velocity vs time graph for the Space Shuttle’s 8-minute ascent into space.
Space Shuttle Speed vs Time graph of Launch to MECO (student example) (pdf)
Space Shuttle Launch Timeline And Graph Worksheet
(pdf)
Space Shuttle Launch Timeline And Graph Raw Data
(This is an MS Excel document with the Space Shuttle’s ascent data already typed in.)

You can, of course, just use the data to draw a graph on paper as well!!

Analyzing Usain Bolt’s 100-metre Sprint

Graphing and Analysing Usain Bolt’s 2008 World Record 100m Sprint (pdf)
This activity asks students to analyze (or analyse) Usain Bolt’s 2008 world-record 100m sprint.
Graphing Usain Bolt 2008 WR 100m Sprint (Excel Document)
(Photo by Phil McElhinney)

This activity blends Physics and PE. Ten-metre-interval split times are recorded for a sprinter running a 100-metre race and, from the data, an analysis is made of the sprinter’s performance. Choose the prac that suits you best:

Graphing Motion: the 100m Sprint: In this prac, students analyse their own 100m sprints using Displacement vs Time graphs AND Velocity vs Time graphs.

You vs Usain Bolt in a 100m Sprint: This prac looks only at Displacement vs Time graphs and asks students to compare their sprint performances with Usain Bolt’s (when he ran his 2008 then-world-record sprint).

Graphing Motion: the 100m Sprint (Displacement vs Time only): This prac is the same as the previous prac but no reference is made to Usain Bolt.

For extra detail!
Graphing Motion Practical Activity: Analysing a 100m Sprint (at 5-metre Intervals) (pdf)

How Fast Can You Kick a Ball?

This activity also blends Physics and PE. A ball is kicked (or thrown) 10 metres. The action is recorded and the video file is analysed using Quicktime, VLC, or Windows Media Player. (See Usain Bolt vs Spiro Liacos for more details.)
Calculating Throwing and Kicking Speed

At What Rate Does a Falling Golf Ball Accelerate?

This activity also requires the use of Quicktime. A ball is dropped, the motion is recorded and the video file is analysed. Don’t forget to Include a metre-ruler in the shot!

Most cameras that take videos record at 30 frames per second, but in Australia, the UK and many other places actual video cameras record at 25 frames per second. You therefore need to select the activity sheet that suits your camera.
Vertical Motion: Analysing the Motion of a Falling Golf Ball (30 frames per second)

Vertical Motion: Analysing the Motion of a Falling Golf Ball (25 frames per second)

Projectile Motion: Oblique Projection (30 frames per second) This activity is similar to the Vertical Motion activity above but is more advanced.

Ticker Timers: An Introduction

This activity, as the name suggests, introduces students to ticker timers.

Ticker Timers: An Introduction

How Quickly Does a Falling 1kg Mass Accelerate?

In this activity, students calculate the acceleration of a falling object.

Acceleration Due To Gravity: Ticker Timers

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