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Speed and Motion Vocabulary

Context for this Lesson


Topic: Vocabulary terms and formulas related to speed and motion

Focus: Actively reviewing physics vocabulary through drama based instruction 
Prior Knowledge: Students must know speed and movement vocabulary from physics.
VOCABULARY: speed, velocity, acceleration, deceleration, gravity, kinematics, motion, instantaneous speed, average speed, time, distance, displacement
v = d/t v = velocity d= displacement t= time
vf = vo + at vo = original velocity vf = final velocity a = acceleration
d = (vo )(t) + 1/2 at2
vf2 = vo2 + 2ad
vf2 = vo 2 + 2ad

"We are going to review some speed and motion vocabulary using some enactment strategies."

Vote With Your Feet / Vote From Your Seat
Review terms as a class. Facilitator will read out definitions that are either correct or slightly wrong and invite students to determine whether the definitions are correct, incorrect or possibly correct. Invite students to state their answer by moving to different areas in the room the facilitator has identified as “Yes,” “No,” or “Maybe.” Possible definitions could be: 1) Speed equals displacement over time. (Students would move to the “No” section). 2) Acceleration is the change in velocity over the change in time. (“Yes”)← correct? 
Transition: "Now, we are going to continue thinking about these formulas and see how quickly we can recall them."
Questions from a Hat
Have students sit in circle. Pass a hat (or bag) around with the words written on them. The student who has the hat pulls a word out and shares either the definition or the formula that explains the word. If the student can’t think of the definition or formula, the rest of the class can help and give clues.
Transition: "We are going to explore these formulas and terms in one more way. This time we are going to use our bodies to embody the terms through a game called Donkey."


Students stand in a circle with the leader in the center. The leader points to a player and calls out a motion term. That player, plus two players on either side of him or her, rush to make the formulas before the leader counts to ten. For example, if the leader calls “Velocity,” the player pointed to makes the “V” sign with their arms, and the people to their left and right rush to make the “D” and “T” with their arms. If they fail to make the correct formula with their arms within ten seconds, the player pointed to switches places with the leader and calls out the next formula. This could get a little tricky with some of the other formulas, because they are fairly involved. This poses an interesting problem for the students to solve, and they should be as creative as they can be with their bodies. In some cases, more than two students will be needed to make the formulas, and the quicker the students work together to create the formulas, the better they will be able to remember the formulas!

Describe: What did we do in those strategies? How did you create formulas using your bodies?

Analyze: What are the differences between terms such as speed/velocity or distance/displacement? 

Relate: How does this help your understanding of these terms?