Using accumulations and vectors to predict routes
What the activity is for
The whole apparatus of Newton's second law (dynamics – causes of changes in motion) and kinematics (describing the motion) is about being able to predict motion – for example, well enough to put men on the Moon, or to land a ship at the correct location.
So using calculated vectors to work out where something will be, when it'll be there, and what speed it'll be moving at focus on the core successes of this invented world in mimicking the lived-in world.
What to prepare
- an ordered set of vectors, able to be arranged tip to tail by translation, without being rotated
- access to the software tool for exploring accumulations, QWA
- a diagram of the whole schema of dynamics and kinematics
What happens during this activity
Show the ordered collection of displacement vectors, reviewing what a displacement vector indicates in passing.
Then ask how they can tell where they'll be after each interval, if the vectors predict their route.
Assemble the vectors tip to tail, in order, to predict the path.
Teacher: Now, how are the displacement vectors found?
Review the whole process
- Velocity telling displacement how to change.
- Acceleration telling velocity how to change.
- Forcemass setting the acceleration.
You may choose to use the support sheet to help.
You might then use the interactive tool, QWA, to revise each of the separate stages of accumulation.