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Position and Motion (Chapter 1 Lesson 1)

Position and Motion (Chapter 1 Lesson 1)

Author: Jason Fritz

I can answer the following questions:
•How does the description of an object’s position depend on a reference point?
•How can you describe the position of an object in two dimensions?
•What is the difference between distance and displacement?

•A reference point, a reference direction, and distance are needed to describe the position of an object.

•An object is in motion if its position changes relative to a reference point.

•The distance an object moves and the object’s displacement are not always the same.

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Position and Motion (flipped video)

Get out your Cornell Notes and learn about Position and Motion. Pause and rewind video to master the concepts. Take practice quiz when you are done.

adapted material from Physical iScience using PowToon

Chapter 1 Lesson 1: Position and Motion

Source: McGraw-Hill; Physical iScience

Position and Motion Blank Cornell Vocabulary Sheet

Use the "Position and Motion" blank Cornell sheet to write down important vocabulary from the video and write the lesson summary on the back.


Position and Motion Vocabulary


Position and Motion Vocab Flash Cards

Source: Quizlet

Reading Coach: Position and Motion

Lesson 1 text written for the approaching-level student.


Source: McGraw-Hill; Physical iScience

Chapter 1 Lesson 2 Book Assignment


Source: McGraw-Hill; Physical iScience

Distance and Displacement

Distance is a measurement of length between two points. Displacement is a overall change in position of an object. Distance does not include a direction whereas displacement does include a direction.

Source: The Science Classroom

Different Between Distance and Displacement

Distance: It is a measure of the interval between two locations. Distance is a scalar measure of the interval between two locations measured along the actual path connecting them.

Displacement: It is a vector measure of the interval between two locations measured along the shortest path connecting them.

Difference Between Distance and Displacement

There are two ways to answer this question. On the one hand, there's the sum of the smaller motions that I made: two meters east, two meters south, two meters west; resulting in a total walk of six meters. On the other hand, the end point of my walk is two meters to the south of my starting point. So which answer is correct? Well, both. The question is ambiguous and depends on whether the questioner meant to ask for the distance or displacement.

Distance is a actual path traversed by the body respective of its direction taken where as displacement gives shortest distance between two points specifying the short length direction.

Source: TutorVista

Creature Movement Lab

Position, Reference Point, Distance, and Displacement


Drawing Distance and Displacement

Using a reference point, distance, and directions see if you can draw out the pathways.
Try coming up with your own directions and shapes to challenge your friends.


Science Battle Ship

You will use the template to draw your ships on the bottom part of the grid. On the top part will be your targets. Use the reference points (A, B, and C) and guess where your opponents ships are. The person to sink their opponent's ships first wins.


Getting Around Eagan

For this assignment you are to use the map of Eagan, MN to write directions for getting around to different popular parks around the community. Be sure to use a ruler and include the three key concepts form your notes (reference point, distance, and direction) in your directions.


Source: Google Maps

Physics - Motion Graphs and the Position Equations

Mr. Causey Shows you step by step how to setup and interpret motion graphs. Learn about both distance versus time and velocity versus time. Also learn the importance of slope for velocity and acceleration.

Mr. Causey will show you how to get the position equations from a motion graph.

Source: Mr. Causey

Motion Song

Parody of "Wild Ones" by FloRida

Source: Mr. Parr

Safari Montage Motion Videos

Students can watch these videos the enrich the activities from class. To sign onto Safari Montage students only need to sign in as they would a school computer (same user name and password).

Bill Nye: Motion

Bill Nye the Science Guy explains that nothing can move or stop by itself, that everything needs a push or pull--a force--to make it move or stop. Sometimes an object might seem to be at rest, even when it is in motion. Confused? It's all relative. Relative motion, that is. This live-action, fast-paced program also features comedy, music videos, interviews with real scientists, and hands-on experiments to make the concepts presented understandable and fun.

23 min. 8 sec.

Work, Force, Energy, and Motion

This program explains the scientific concepts of work and energy. Work is defined as the application of a force to move an object. Energy is defined as the capacity to do work. Energy may be potential or kinetic. The measure of both work and energy is the Newton-meter, or joule, which is approximately the amount of work done lifting an apple from the ground to your waist. The program gives calculated examples of work, gravitational potential energy and kinetic energy.

8 min. 52 sec.

How Global Positioning System Works

This program explains how the Global Position System (GPS) works. A GPS receiver locates signals from four orbiting satellites and uses the information to calculate a position. The GPS system can be used to track speed and direction, the orientation of aircraft, and evidence of earthquakes or geological activity. Part of the Launch Pad series. This video is a NASA eClips(TM) program. NASA/courtesy of

4 min 10 sec

Source: Safari Montage