Observing, Qualifying and Quantifying Motion in One Direction
General Objectives: Students will cooperatively participate in small teams to develop models
for an object moving at a constant speed in one direction on a level surface. The lesson design is
for Ninth Grade Honors Physical Science students who have accelerated math backgrounds.
Instructional Goals: Students will determine a frame of reference for the motion of a peer
(positive or negative motion based on the frame of reference). Students will cooperatively initiate
and develop a qualitative model for the student motion, describing the motion utilizing words, a
graph, a motion map, or a combination of each. Utilizing the materials supplied for the learning
experience, students will practice critical thinking and problem solving to measure two variables
for linear motion, and also create and collaboratively communicate qualitative and quantitative
models for motion in one direction. Members of the lab teams will accept leadership roles
assigned by the lab team, and practice self-direction, accountability, Rationale / Sequence
This lesson introduces the concept of constant velocity. It is the first lesson in a series of lab
experiences that will ultimately lead to discussion of acceleration and eventually motion in two
directions (projectiles). Students have all observed motion in multiple venues. Students may or
may not have pre-existing vocabulary to describe variables that are related to motion. In this
activity, students will be given independent choice to develop models for motion using varied
tools provided for the activity. Students will need to consider the differences between a
qualitative model and a quantitative model. This is extremely important! Students musts first
conceptualize relationships .This is why the lesson begins with the demonstration and
appropriately requires the students to list what is measurable. And next to consider any
potential related variables This leads to a graphic model.l The qualitative thinking will lead to
the quantitative model. Creating and utilizing appropriate graphs, students will be required to
utilize Google Docs to successfully compose a group lab report. The lab report format draws on
student previous experience with scientific thinking and usage of the scientific method to form
and test conclusions. Use of the LabQuest 2 technology and motion detector will depend on
student choice. Students will gain valuable experience in describing constant motion with respect
to measurable variables, building on previous experiences in elementary and middle school.
Students will be empowered to transfer the understanding of variables in constant motion to
State Mandated Content: The lesson introduces the bold terms below:
“For the Physical Science course, all motion is limited to objects moving in a straight line
either horizontally, vertically, up an incline or down an incline, that can be characterized
in a single step (e.g., at rest, constant velocity, constant acceleration)…The motion of an
object depends on the observer’s frame of reference and is described in terms of distance,
position, displacement, speed, velocity, acceleration and time.…All motion is relative to
whatever frame of reference is chosen…Motion diagrams can be drawn and interpreted
to represent the position and velocity of an object…The displacement or change in
position of an object is a vector quantity that can be calculated by subtracting the initial
position from the final position (Δx = xf – xi)…Displacement can be positive or negative
depending upon the direction of motion..” (Ohio Revised Standards and Model
Curriculum High School, March 2011)
Sequence Of Instruction:
1) Demonstration: Students will observe the motion of a student across a level floor. The motion
will be recorded using Vernier’s “ Video Physics for iOS.” The video will be projected via
LabQuest Viewer for iPad to the classroom Smartboard where the recorded motion will be
evaluated using manually spaced data points.
2) Using the free software, “Lino” and student Chromebooks, students will generate questions
about the motion that was observed. Students will be specifically prompted in their questions to
consider any variables that can be accurately measured. The sticky notes generated by “Lino”
will be projected onto the classroom Smartboard.
3) Students lab groups will be created based on teacher choice.
4) Student lab groups will receive a set of materials. See list below. The Labquest 2 is a new tool
for the students.
5) Students will be asked to create a model for a student carrying a white board, moving in one
direction and at a constant speed.
6) Students will be asked to generate a qualitative model for linear motion using the tools
provided. Students will additionally be asked to create a quantitative model for the observed
7) Students will share their qualitative models and quantitative models with the classroom in a “
white board meeting.”
8) Students will be asked to evaluate the similarities and differences of the generated qualitative
and quantitative models created by each lab group. Note: since there was no clear teacher
directive concerning the required nature of the model to be developed, student models may likely
vary, including written explanations, motion maps, graphs, and equations. (This is purposeful,
requiring the students to think and create without teacher intervention, unless the observed live
situation demands that the teacher step in to help.)
Meter stick, string, tape, dry erase marker set, two whiteboards, LabQuest 2, motion detector,
LabQuest 2 manual, electrical receptacles, classroom chairs, white board erasers, iPads,
Chromebooks. (The student iPads do not support the Video Physics for iOS software.)
Students will potentially be using electrical cords in this activity. Proper use of plugs and
receptacles will be required.. Appropriate respect for the free passage of other students must be
Assessments and Outcomes:
1) Students will generate questions concerning the motion of a spherical via “Lino” sticky
2) Students will create and share a labeled qualitative model via white board.
3) Students will create and share a labeled quantitative model and explain how the model can be
used to measure motion of other objects.
4) Student groups will create a lab report using Google Docs.
5) Students will demonstrate observable and measurable relationships by creating an
6) Students will participate in sharing their models in a whole class setting.
7) Students will determine a frame of reference for motion.
8) Students will describe motion as positive or negative with regard to the frame of
9) Students will utilize the tools provided to gather data and create models for motion.
10) Students will cooperate in gathering, sharing and evaluating data.
11) Students will practice accountability to complete all team-generated assignments.