# Building Physical Intuition Kinematics

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1 II-15 Name: Lab Partners: Building Physical Intuition Kinematics Kinematics is the description of motion. Motion can be described using the quantities: time, distance and displacement, speed and velocity, and acceleration. These exercises are designed to improve your observation and physical intuition for describing motion. Strive to improve your ability to make estimates of reasonable kinematics magnitudes. Groups: form groups of three (or whatever number your instructor suggests) Equipment: each group should have a one meter stick, a two meter stick, and a watch with a second hand and/or a stopwatch. Distance vs. Displacement There are important distinctions between what we mean by distance and displacement. In both cases, however, the amounts are measured in the same units as lengths. Amount Direction Distance The amount traveled along a path. Direction does not matter! It is not included in our definition. Displacement The length of the straight line from the earlier position to the later position, regardless of path. Points from the earlier position straight to the later position.

2 II Measured Walks. Place a small object on the ground to mark a starting spot (origin). (A piece of tape works well since it will stay in place.) Stand back to back with your partners so that you all walk at the same time, but in different directions. Without looking at your partners, walk straight ahead a distance that you think is 4 m. Mark your final position. Measure how far you walked from the origin. (Don't be concerned if you are off by quite a bit. This is a learning exercise to familiarize you with metric distances.) Enter your group's results in the table below. Experimental Attempt Person A Person B Person C Ideal Distance Percent Error The Percent Error gives you a quantitative way to say how far off you were. Perform calculation for each person as follows: this Experimental - Ideal Percent Error = x 100% Ideal Notice that the Percent Error is positive (+) if you walked too far (experimental exceeds the ideal) and is negative ( ) if you did not walk far enough. Be sure to follow rules for significant figures If everyone in your group walked exactly 4 meters, would your displacements all be the same? Be careful to check and use the definition for displacement when answering this question!, because

3 II Forward & Back Walks [1-D Motion]. Have each member of the group take the walks described below. Place a small object on the ground to mark a starting spot (origin). Choose one direction to be the positive x-direction (+ x-direction). Put something on the ground to clearly show your choice for the + x-direction. The opposite direction is called the negative x-direction ( x-direction). For each walk, you will: Sketch the walk showing the origin and positive direction. Measure and record the distances traveled for each of the stages. Also record the displacements for each of the stages including a +/- sign to indicate direction. Calculate the total distance and total displacement by addition. Measure all quantities to the nearest 0.01 m. WALK A: Walk 5 steps in the + x-direction and mark the spot. Walk 3 steps in the -x-direction and mark the spot. WALK B: Walk 5 steps in the -x-direction and mark the spot. Walk 3 steps in the +x-direction and mark the spot. WALK C: Make up your own 3-stage walk. Stage 1: Stage 2: Stage 3: Person A Person B Person C Walk A Sketch: total dist. = m total dist. = m total dist. = m Walk B Sketch: total dist. = m total dist. = m total dist. = m displace. 1 = m displace. 2 = m total displ. = m total displ. = m

4 II-18 Person A Person B Person C Walk C Sketch: distance 3 = m distance 3 = m distance 3 = m total dist. = m total dist. = m total dist. = m displace. 1 = m displace. 1 = m displace. 2 = m displace. 2 = m displace. 3 = m displace. 3 = m displace. 3 = m total displ. = m total displ. = m Is distance ever negative?, because In the case of 1-D motion (motion along a line), the magnitude of a displacement is the absolute value of the displacement. In general, is the total distance equal to the magnitude of the total displacement?, because In what special case is the total distance equal to the magnitude of the total displacement? Using walks A, B and C, find the average length of a single step for each person. Show how you used your data to obtain this result. Person A Person B Person C Average Step Length: Method of calculation of average step length:

6 II-20 Speed vs. Velocity The difference between the average speed of an object and the average velocity is effectively the same as the difference between distance and displacement. This is evident from the definitions: average speed is distance time to travel that distance average velocity is displacement time for that displacement 4. From the definitions: Does average speed have direction? Why or why not? Does average velocity have direction? Why or why not? _ Can average speed be negative? Why or why not? Can average velocity be negative? Why or why not? In general, is average speed equal to the magnitude of average velocity? Why or why not? In what special case is average speed equal to the magnitude of average velocity?

7 II Human Speeds. Along a straight line, mark a starting point (origin) and an ending point 10 m away. Choose one person to be a walker/runner, one person to be a timer with stopwatch, and the third person to be the recorder. The timer should be at the 10 m mark. Have the walker/runner start well behind the origin to get her/him up to a steady speed. When the walker/runner passes the origin, the timer should start the stopwatch. Take turns being walker/runner, timer and recorder for the following different motions. Units are placed in the column headings and should not be included with numerical values you record in the table. slow walk normal walk fast walk jog Time (s) Distance (m) Displacement (m) Ave. Speed(m/s) Ave. Velocity (m/s) run In this special case where you do not change direction, what do you notice? To get a sense of how fast your speeds were, we can use the rough conversion of 1 m/s is about 2 mi/h. Using this rough conversion and the table above, fill in the blanks below. How many significant figures should you keep? slow walking speed m/s mi/h normal walking speed m/s mi/h fast walking speed m/s mi/h jogging speed m/s mi/h running speed m/s mi/h Do these numbers seem to be about right?.

8 II Race Walking! In this contest you will take turns walking as quickly as you can do not run or jog. Select and mark an origin. Choose a positive direction and measure 5.00 m from the origin in that direction. Clearly mark the spot. Measure and mark m from the origin in the negative direction. Start from the origin, timer says "go," walk as fast as you can to the m mark, turn around and walk as fast as you can to the finish line at the m mark. Add units to the column headings and record your values in the table. Name Time ( ) Distance ( ) Displacement ( ) Ave. Speed ( ) Ave. Velocity ( ) Aside from the time to finish, which number would you use to determine the fastest walker? What does the sign of the average velocity tell you? What would your average velocity be if you started and stopped at the same spot? In that case, would your average speed be positive, negative or zero?

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