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Lesson 1: Describing Motion with Words

Introduction to the Language of Kinematics

Scalars and Vectors

Distance and Displacement

Speed and Velocity

Acceleration


Lesson 2: Describing Motion with Diagrams

Introduction to Diagrams

Ticker Tape Diagrams

Vector Diagrams


Lesson 3: Describing Motion with Position vs. Time Graphs

The Meaning of Shape for a p-t Graph

The Meaning of Slope for a p-t Graph

Determining the Slope on a p-t Graph


 

Lesson 4: Describing Motion with Velocity vs. Time Graphs

The Meaning of Shape for a v-t Graph

The Meaning of Slope for a v-t Graph

Relating the Shape to the Motion

Determining the Slope on a v-t Graph

Determining the Area on a v-t Graph

 

Lesson 5: Free Fall and the Acceleration of Gravity

Introduction to Free Fall

The Acceleration of Gravity

Representing Free Fall by Graphs

How Fast? and How Far?

The Big Misconception

 

Lesson 6: Kinematic Equations

The Kinematic Equations

Problem-Solving

Kinematic Equations and Free Fall

Sample Problems and Solutions

Kinematic Equations and Graphs

 

 

Lesson 4 : Describing Motion with Velocity vs. Time Graphs

Relating the Shape to the Motion

As discussed in a previous part of Lesson 4, the shape of a velocity vs. time graph reveals pertinent information about an object's acceleration. For example, if the acceleration is zero, then the velocity-time graph is a horizontal line - having a slope of zero. If the acceleration is positive, then the line is an upward sloping line - having a positive slope. If the acceleration is negative, then the velocity-time graph is a downward sloping line - having a negative slope. If the acceleration is great, then the line slopes up steeply - having a large slope. The shape of the line on the graph (horizontal, sloped, steeply sloped, mildly sloped, etc.) is descriptive of the object's motion. This principle can be extended to any motion conceivable. In this part of the lesson, we will examine how the principle applies to a variety of types of motion. In each diagram below, a short verbal description of a motion is given (e.g., "constant, rightward velocity") and an accompanying ticker tape diagram is shown. Finally, the corresponding velocity-time graph is sketched and an explanation is given. Near the end of this page, a few practice problems are given.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Check Your Understanding

Describe the motion depicted by the following velocity-time graphs. In your descriptions, make reference to the direction of motion (+ or - direction), the velocity and acceleration and any changes in speed (speeding up or slowing down) during the various time intervals (e.g., intervals A, B, and C). When finished, click the button to see the answers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lesson 4 : Describing Motion with Velocity vs. Time Graphs

 

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