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# Graphs of movement (motion)

By Judith Foster,2014-06-13 15:50
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Graphs of movement (motion)

Graphs of motion (movement)

A method to record the motion of objects is the graph. This provides a picture or visual display of information about the motion. It can be easier to describe the motion and identify where things have changed from a graph than from simply the numbers or using equations.

There are three types of graphs that we use position versus time, speed versus time and

acceleration versus time. You have observed that ‘time’ is part of each of these graphs. This is because the graphs are a way to record what happened as time passed. If you see a racing car take off in a race, there is a number of events that occur start to move, change of gear, slow down to

avoid others, swerve, and many more possibilities. Having a graph with time as one variable allow the story of the movements to be told just as if you were there watching it happens (though less exciting).

Most graphs provided below do not have any numbers on them. This is because at this time the values are not the critical point, it is all about the stories the graph can tell. You task will be to describe using motion words what is happening. You can state that the object was stationary (not moving), moving steadily (constant speed), speeding up (accelerating), slowing down, changing direction or whatever. The main point is to extract or identify as many things as you can about the motion that is summarised by each graph.

You may be able to make statements about position, speed and acceleration for every graph. Make sure that you share your ideas with your family and teacher. You may be surprised how little other people can find in a graph or even how much. Graphs are a very rich source of information and allow you to analyse or interpret a motion situation.

The final section here is designed to have you relate one graph to other graphs for the same movements of an object. Just having one of the graphs provides most of the information you need to draw another of the graphs. Have some fun with these and see if only one graph can be drawn or perhaps many more.

Position versus Time graphs

These have position values on the vertical or Y-axis and time values on the horizontal or X-

axis.

Position (m)

A scale is indicated on each axis. The values depend

on the situation. Remember to keep the scale uniform.

0 Time (s)

Here are some graphs of this type. Your task is to tell the story contained in these graphs interpret

their meaning. Please include values where they can help identify the part of the graph you are

Position (m) Position (m) 1.

0 0 Time (s) Time (s)

2. Position (m)

0 Time (s)

3. Position (m)

0 Time (s)

60

50

4. 40

30

20

Position (m)10

0

010203040

. Time (min)

90Tell the story for each section of the graph 0 to 10, 10 to 25, 25 to 30 and 30 to 35.

805.

70

60

50

40

30

Position (m)20

10

0

012345678910

Time (s)

Speed versus Time graphs

These have speed values on the vertical or Y-axis and time values on the horizontal or X-

axis.

Speed (m/s)

A scale is indicated on each axis. The values depend

on the situation. Remember to keep the scale uniform.

0 Time (s)

Here are some graphs of this type. Your task is to tell the story contained in these graphs interpret

their meaning. Please include values where they can help identify the part of the graph you are

Speed (m/s) 1.

0 Time (s)

2. Speed (m/s)

0 Time (s)

3. Speed (m/s)

How does this differ from Q 2 graph?

What does it tell you about the motion?

0 Time (s)

4. Speed (m/s)

0 Time (s)

5. 60

50

40

30

20Speed (m/s)

10

0

010203040

Time (s)

906. 80

70

60

50

40

30Speed (m/s)

20

10

0

012345678910

Time (s)

Acceleration versus Time graphs

These have acceleration values on the vertical or Y-axis and time values on the horizontal

or X-axis.

2Acceleration (m/s)

A scale is indicated on each axis. The values depend

on the situation. Remember to keep the scale uniform.

0 Time (s)

Here are some graphs of this type. Your task is to tell the story contained in these graphs interpret

their meaning. Please include values where they can help identify the part of the graph you are

1.

0 Time (s)

2. 2Acceleration (m/s)

0 Time (s)

23. Acceleration (m/s)

0

Time (s)

24. Acceleration (m/s)

The line is down here on the X-axis.

0 Time (s)

You will be provided with 3 sets of axes for three types of motion graphs. One graph is provided

and you need to draw the appropriate other 2 graphs. It starts with an example then you have full

control to explore the way you interpret the given graph.

Example:

Position (m) Given:

This graph tells me that the object is

moving at a steady speed the line is

straight showing that the distance

covered each second is always the

same. This is a constant speed.

0 Time (s)

My speed graph

Speed (m/s) This shows a speed that does not

change. The line is flat, staying at the

same value all the time.

0 Time (s)

My acceleration graph

2 Acceleration (m/s)

As the speed was constant the object

not change its speed its speed. It did

not accelerate. This means there was no

acceleration, a value of zero.

0 Time (s)

Given Graph: Given Graph:

Position (m) Position (m)

Time (s) Time (s)

Speed (m/s) Speed (m/s)

0 0 Time (s) Time (s)

22 Acceleration (m/s) Acceleration (m/s)

0 0 Time (s) Time (s)

peed (m)

Position (m) Position (m)

0 0 Time (s) Time (s)

Given Graph:

Speed (m/s) Speed (m/s)

0 0 Time (s) Time (s)

Given Graph:

22 Acceleration (m/s) Acceleration (m/s)

0 Time (s)

0 Time (s)

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