## Some pupils are unable to translate between verbal and graphical descriptions of an object's motion.

Forces and Motion

Misconception

Given a distance-time graph of a speed-time graph of an object in motion, pupils struggle to translate this into a description, in words, of that object's motion. Similarly, given a verbal description of motion, pupils struggle to translate this into an appropriate graphical representation.

### Diagnostic Resources

The following worksheets may help to identify whether students hold this particular misconception.

Q17-24 all deal with distance-time graphs. The key idea probed is that the slope of a distance-time graph is an indication of speed.

• Graphical stories of motion (14-16)

Source - SPT/ Fm02TA05

This resource focuses on students "walking-out" target graphs, and so obtain a real understanding of the story behind the graph.

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• Timing a trolley on a slope (11-16)

Source - Practical Physics/ Force and Motion/ Time, distance and speed/ ...

This resource outlines a class practical where students measure time, speed and velocity. Graphical presentation of data helps to build concepts.

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• Ticker-timers for investigating speed (11 - 16)

Source - Practical Physics/ Force and Motion/ Time, distance and speed/ ...

This resource outlines a class activity where making ticker-timer charts can develop an understanding of speed-time graphs.

View Resource

## References

The following studies have documented this misconception:

• Bliss, J.; Morrison, I. and Ogborn, J. () A longitudinal study of dynamics concepts. International Journal of Science Education, 10 (1),

99-110.

This longitudinal study examined the concepts that students across a range of year groups held on the topic of motion. The sample consisted of two groups of students: one group of students aged 12-14 and one group of students aged 14-16. 26 students were from middle school, 28 were from upper school, 33 were from secondary school. The study took place in the UK. The concepts were examined using tests and follow-up verbal interviews.
Review sheet