Activity handout: Constant velocity graphing card sort

There’s some misconceptions embedded to give students opportunities to deal with situations that force them to think on a deeper level.

Students (and really, just people in general) often equate the shape of a graph to be the physical path of the object – thus, students my instinctively believe when an object goes up and over a hill, the graph will look like a slope up then down.

When Do I Use This?

I generally use this to help students learn and reinforce the different types of graphs for constant velocity motion – meaning after some instruction about position vs. time and velocity vs. time graphs. This is good starting activity since students don’t need to create anything – they only need to match. Because the task isn’t so daunting, you might even try giving students a couple minutes to try these before formal instruction about velocity vs. time graphs – and if you’re feeling ambitious, before formal instruction about position vs. time graphs. If things start falling apart, you can always pause the activity and give formal instruction at that moment when students feel like they need it.

A more difficult task that might take place after this would be to to have students draw a position vs. time graph or velocity vs. time graph given a description.

Implementation Tips

To save yourself some time, cut each sheet in half to separate them into individual sets. Then each student/pair grabs 1 “set” of materials. Then have the students cut out their own set (the individual tiny cards).

If you don’t have enough scissors to have students cut out their own sets or you don’t mind doing extra work yourself, cut out the materials several sheets at a time, then lay out all the individual materials around the room (a pile of all the instructions somewhere, then a pile of “A”s somewhere, a pile of “B”s somewhere, etc.), then have students pick up the materials from all the individual piles to form complete sets.