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Linear Acceleration

Keywords: Reference Frames, Linear Acceleration, Moving Frames, Small Group Activity


Highlights of the activity

  1. This small group activity is designed to help upper division undergraduate students plot trajectories of objects undergoing linear acceleration in different reference frames.
  2. Students work in small groups and plot the trajectory of a ball thrown straight up as seen by a moving train undergoing constant speed and, separately, constant acceleration.
  3. The entire class wrap-up discussion reflects on the different plots students came up with, allowing students to compare trajectories of objects seen by observers in inertial and non-inertial frames.

Reasons to spend class time on the activity

  1. The accelerating case is (at first) counterintuitive.
  2. Sets the stage for rotational acceleration.

Can also be done as a SWBQ.


Instructor's Guide

Authors: Tevian Dray
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