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Laboratory 1 – Kinematics
Physics of Music and Color
Kelsey Schur
9/13/2007
Introduction:
In this lab, students investigated how graphs can document changes in the velocity and position
in time of objects. Secondly, we studied how simple harmonic oscillators (SHOs) can be used for
measuring time. Both of these procedures study motion, which in physics is referred to as mechanics.
More specifically, we are dealing with kinematics, which deals with how motion is described. To
perform these two tasks, students used a motion detector, which emits a pulse of sound to determine
how far away an object is. The motion detector uses the amount of time it takes the pulse of sound to
travel from it to the moving object in question and back to determine its distance from the detector.
This detemination can be expressed with the equation:
distance = ½ (speed of sound)(time for round trip of pulse)
The motion detector then compiles many of these distance equations into graphs describing the motion
of the object in question. These graphs can then be described with the equation:
x = vt ; where x is the object's distance from the motion detector, v is the object's velocity, and t is the
time since recording began.
Before recording data, students were instructed to hypothesize how the graphs would appear
given several situations. Each situation needed to be graphed for distance vs. time and velocity vs. time.
The graphs our group created to describe the following situations can be seen on the attached graph
paper.
an object moving in the positive direction with a constant speed
an object moving in the negative direction with a constant speed
an object that is accelerating in the positive direction, starting from rest
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an object at rest
Results:
Part I Preliminary Experiments –
walking actions recorded as distance vs. time graphs with motion
detector
Motion as student walks away from motion detector at a constant velocity. See graph # 1 on
graph paper.
Motion as student walks away from motion detector more quickly: See graph #2 on graph
paper.
Attempts to match hypothesis graphs shown in introduction. See graphs #3 – 7 on graph paper.
Part II Distance vs. Time Graph Matching
– students interpret given distance vs. time graphs, then
attempt to match them with the motion detector using their interpretations
Motion matching: Figure 3 (see attached sheet for graph of attempt to match the model motion).
The motion can be described as beginning standing at rest for one second one meter away from
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 Spring '08
 Gunther
 Physics

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