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Kinematics (Equations of Motion)

Author: Krishan L. Wadhwa


University City High School

Year: 2007

Seminar: Physics in the Arts

Grade Level: 9-12

Keywords: acceleration, deceleration, diagrams, equations of motion, Graphs, Kinematics, motion of objects, Physical Science, physics, speed, vectors, velocity

School Subject(s): Math, Physics, Science

Kinematics is an important tool in understanding the motion of objects, whether translational, oscillatory, or circular. The behavior of variables such as speed, velocity, acceleration, and deceleration is described by the equations of motion. Apart from the equations, some other tools to study kinematics are graphs, diagrams and vectors. Velocity versus time graphs and displacement time graphs (distance time graphs) relate equations of motion in a very simple way.

The main purpose of this curriculum unit is to familiarize physical science and physics students with the basic concepts used in equations of motion  (kinematics). Students will gain knowledge and understanding of the fundamental physical quantities such as distance, time, speed, velocity, displacement, acceleration etc. The unit will also help students understand mathematical concepts such as scientific notation and significant digits (or figures) used in calculations. The curriculum unit will also boost the understanding of graphs and calculations of different physical quantities such as velocity, acceleration, and distance/displacement. Mathematical concepts such as finding slope of a line and area under the curve are illustrated and their connections with physical quantities are discussed through numerical problems. The subject areas to which this unit is useful  are Physical Science (9th grade); Physics (11th-12th grade), AP-Physics (critical-thinking questions). However unit is also useful for assisting Algebra (I), Algebra (II), Geometry and discrete math students in understanding linear and quadratic equations.

In this unit, my idea is to introduce kinematics in one dimension only, because to study motion in two dimensions and three dimensions would require a much more solid mathematical background.

Download Unit: 07.06.07.pdf

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