Forces and Motion

Where to next?

Classroom Activity for 14-16 Supporting Physics Teaching

What the Activity is for

Using accumulations and vectors to predict routes.

The whole apparatus of Newton's second law (dynamics – causes of changes in motion) and kinematics (describing the motion) is about being able to predict motion – for example, well enough to put men on the Moon, or to land a ship at the correct location.

So using calculated vectors to work out where something will be, when it'll be there, and what speed it'll be moving at focus on the core successes of this invented world in mimicking the lived-in world.

What to Prepare

  • an ordered set of vectors, able to be arranged tip to tail by translation, without being rotated (see below)
  • access to the software tool for exploring accumulations, QWA (see below)
  • a diagram of the whole schema of dynamics and kinematics (see below)

What Happens During this Activity

Show the ordered collection of displacement vectors, reviewing what a displacement vector indicates in passing.

Then ask how they can tell where they'll be after each interval, if the vectors predict their route.

Assemble the vectors tip to tail, in order, to predict the path.

Teacher: Now, how are the displacement vectors found?

Review the whole process

  • Velocity telling displacement how to change.
  • Acceleration telling velocity how to change.
  • Forcemass setting the acceleration.

You may choose to use the support sheet to help.

You might then use the interactive tool, QWA, to revise each of the separate stages of accumulation.

appears in the relation F=ma a=dv/dt a=-(w^2)x
is used in analyses relating to Terminal Velocity
can be represented by Motion Graphs
Limit Less Campaign

Support our manifesto for change

The IOP wants to support young people to fulfil their potential by doing physics. Please sign the manifesto today so that we can show our politicians there is widespread support for improving equity and inclusion across the education sector.

Sign today