August 17th, 2016

This activity provides students with extra practice thinking about data presented in tables and graphs and what that data looks like in action.

Amanda and Nikki Racing 2

1.5 — Motion: Data Match (Optional)

App Features

The Playground Physics app is not required for this lesson.

Expected Activity Time

  • Total Activity Time: 40 minutes
  • Introduce: 10 minutes
  • Activity: 20 minutes
  • Discussion: 10 minutes

Total Extension Time (optional): 45 minutes

  • Record a Video: 45 minutes

Materials and Prep

  • Worksheet: Motion: Data Match
  • iPad with the Playground Physics app (optional)


Introduction: 10 minutes

  • Tell students that they have been looking at the data and graphs that the app creates but that today they are going to think about it in a different way.
  • Show students the table in the worksheet and tell them that they are going to color in the different columns to make it easier to think about the data and reference it to answer the questions. Provide each student with four crayons (red, yellow, green and blue). Have students color the “Time” column blue, the “Total Distance Traveled” column green, the “Horizontal Instantaneous Speed” column yellow, and the “Current Direction” column red.
  • Point out to students that each column has the units for the data and remind them that they should include units in their answers.
  • Tell students that some of the questions on the worksheet ask them to determine the velocity for Nikki’s motion. Ask students what data on the table they will use to determine Nikki’s velocity. Come to a consensus as a class that they will need to include both the horizontal instantaneous speed and current direction.

Activity: 20 minutes

  • Have students work in pairs to answer the questions on the worksheet and create a graph of the data.

Discussion: 10 minutes

  • As a class go over the answers to questions one
    through 12.
  • Have students share their ideas for what type of activity they think Nikki was doing and why they think that. Encourage students to use evidence from the table and graph to support their claims.
  • Share with students that Nikki was playing basketball with a friend.

Extension (Optional)

Record a Video (45 minutes)

  • Have students make a video doing the activity that they thought Nikki was doing. See which group can get closest to recreating the data.

Answer Key: Interpreting Tables

  1. 21.9 meters
  2. 50 seconds
  3. 2.9 meters per second
  4. 0.7 meters per second →
  5. 0.6 meters per second →
  6. 25 seconds
  7. Between 5 and 10 seconds
  8. Between 10 and 15 seconds
  9. 4. 8 meters
  10. 1.3 meters per second
  11. 45 seconds

Answer Key: Graphing Speed

Students’ answers will vary. The actual data was taken from a video of two students playing basketball on a half court.

Worksheet Previews

Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 1.16.19 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 1.16.34 PM Screen Shot 2016-07-28 at 1.16.45 PM

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Big Idea

The purpose of this activity is for students to practice interpretation data form of both graphs and tables. It also reinforces the importance of distance, speed and direction in describing and understanding motion.

Learning Objectives

  • Students will be able to interpret information from a table to answer questions about the speed, velocity and position of an object.
  • Students will be able to graph data from a table.

Standards Addressed

Crosscutting Concept: Patterns
Observed patterns of forms and events guide organization and classification, and they prompt questions about relationships and the factors that influence them.

Science and Engineering Practice: Analyzing and Interpreting Data
Analyze and interpret data to determine similarities and differences in findings.


Integration of Knowledge and Ideas

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.7: Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., quantitative data, video, multimedia) in order to address a question or solve a problem.

Literacy in Science

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RST.6-8.7: Integrate quantitative or technical information expressed in words in a text with a version of that information expressed visually (e.g., in a flowchart, diagram, model, graph or table).

Text Types and Purposes

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.6,7,8.1: Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.


Standard 4: The Physical Setting

5.1b: The motion of an object can be described by its position, direction of motion and speed.


  • Motion is an objects change in position.
  • Distance is the total amount of ground covered by an object in motion.
  • Speed is how fast an object is moving regardless of its direction.
  • Velocity is how fast an object gets somewhere with respect to direction.