The Kinematic Graphing Interactive is an adjustable-size file that displays best on tablets such as the iPad, on Chromebooks, and on laptops and desktops. The size of the Interactive can be scaled to fit the device that it is displayed on. The compatibility with iPads, other tablets, and Chromebooks make it a perfect tool for use in a 1:1 classroom.  While the screen real estate is dense with features, it will should still display nicely on phones.


Teaching Ideas and Suggestions:

This Interactive may be one of our most valuable learning tools in the Kinematics section of Physics Interactives. It can be used at any time during the learning cycle on kinematic graphing. However, we recommend its use in the early to middle stages. Some of our other Interactives - Graph That Motion, Graphs and Ramps, and Two-Stage Rocket - would be better suited for the middle to later stages. This simulation is perfect for learning about the relationship between an object's motion and the kinematic graphs that describe the motion. Graphs include position-time graphs, velocity-time graphs, and acceleration-time graphs. Each simulation also includes a dot diagram and a background grid for making position measurements (1 square = 0.20 m along its edge).

There are three usage modes - The Basic 6, Two Stage, and Sandbox mode. Each mode allows the user some control over motion parameters such as the initial velocity, acceleration, and the time. Sandbox mode provides the user with relatively unlimited control ... other than certain parameter set-ups will send the moped off the screen quite quickly.

The Basic 6 mode is the introductory mode. It is intended to help the learner internalize the meaning of the graph features and their relationship to the motion. Six basic motion types are included. There are two constant velocity motions - one for moving to the right and one for moving to the left. There are two speeding up motions - one for moving to the right and one for moving to the left. And finally, there are two slowing down motions. Users tap a button to toggle between the six basic motions. The Basic 6 mode allows users to explore concepts of slope for position-time and velocity-time graphs. The slope is even computed for curved position-time graphs with a red tangent line superimposed on the graph. Arrow buttons allow the user to navigate to any point on the graph they wish. The velocity-time graph allows the user to explore the area between the line on the graph and the time-axis for any time interval desired. Arrow buttons allow users to control the time interval. 

Two Stage mode allows users to explore two-stage motions. An example would be and object moving with a constant velocity for a specified time followed by a slowing down motion. There are eight different two-stage motions to explore. Users can modify motion parameters for both stages. There are of course constraints on the degree to which such changes can be made since the width of the Interactive is finite and the moped will soon make its way off the screen. Sandbox mode allows the user to explore both one-stage and two-stage motions with considerably more freedom over the motion parameters.

Our Kinematic Graphing simulation is accompanied by a student activity sheet. It coordinates well with The Basic 6 mode of the simulation. It's goal is to provide students a means of recording their observations and some questions that guide towards making some generalizations that describe the relationship between the motion features and the graph features. View Student  Activity.

Our Kinematic Graphing simulation is now available with two Concept Checkers - one for the The Basic 6 usage mode and one for the Two Stage Motion usage mode. Do the simulation. Then follow it up with the Concept Checker:



Related Resources

There are numerous resources at The Physics Classroom website that serve as very complementary supports for the Kinematic Graphing Interactive. These include:
  • Concept Builders:
    The Kinematics chapter of our Concept Builders section is among the most popular areas of our site. If you're not familiar with Concept Builders, you should investigate the interactive questioning modules that are available there. Each question is accompanied by a Help Me! button that provides advice on how to think about the question. Students receive immediate feedback on their answers. If they miss a question, then will soon be given another similar question that targets the same concept or skill. Concept Builders are best used in the middle stages of the learning cycle. Visit the Concept Builders.

  • Minds On Physics Internet Modules:
    The Minds On Physics Internet Modules include a collection of interactive questioning modules that help learners assess their understanding of physics concepts and solidify those understandings by answering questions that require higher-order thinking. Assignments KG1 - KG11 of the Kinematic Graphing module provide great complements to this Interactive. They are best used in the middle to later stages of the learning cycle. Visit the Minds On Physics Internet Modules.

  • Animation: Numerous GIF Animations at The Multimedia Physics Studios
    The Kinematics section of the Multimedia Physics Studios has several instructive animations that depict the motion of objects with their graphical descriptions displayed in real-time. Visit the Multimedia Physics Studios.

  • Curriculum/Practice: Several Concept Development worksheets at the Curriculum Corner will be very useful in assisting students in cultivating their understanding, most notably ...

    Describing Motion with Position-Time Graphs
    Describing Motion with Velocity-Time Graphs
    Describing Motion Graphically
    Interpreting Velocity-Time Graphs
    Graphing Summary
    Kinematic Graphing - Mathematical Analysis

    Visit the Curriculum Corner.

  • Labwork: 
    Simulations should always support (never supplant) hands-on learning. The Laboratory section of The Physics Classroom website includes several hands-on ideas that complement this Interactive. Four notable lab ideas include ...

    Position-Time Graphs
    Interpreting the Slope
    Velocity-Time Graphs
    Match That Graph

    Visit The Laboratory.
  • Science Reasoning Activities:
    Science classrooms should be filled with reasoning activities. There is one related activity in the 1-D Kinematics section of the Science Reasoning Center that will challenge students to employ close reading, data analysis, and logical reasoning. The activities are named ...

    Velocity-Time Graph

    Visit the Science Reasoning Center.
Additional resources and ideas for incorporating Kinematic Graphing into an instructional unit on Kinematics can be found at the Teacher Toolkits section of The Physics Classroom website.  Visit Teacher Toolkits.