Unit Title

Kinematics with Algodoo


Physics 10/ 10A (Newtonian mechanics)

Designed by

Ryan Lenz

Time Frame

Weeks 2-8 of a Semester-long course

Stage 1- Desired Results

Establish Goals

  • ISTE Standards:  
  • Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology
  • Apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes
  • Create original works as a means of personal or group expression
  • Use models and simulations to explore complex systems and issues asdf
  • Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others.
  • Interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media
  • Students demonstrate a sound understanding of technology concepts, systems, and operations.
  • Understand and use technology systems
  • Jakarta Intercultural School Standards
  • Grade 10 Kinematics Learning Goals (see below)


Learners will be able to....

What kinds of long-term independent accomplishments are desired?

  • Learners will be able to transition between ‘real world’ and ‘model’ scenarios.
  • Learners will understand the importance and power of modeling, as well as its limitations.
  • Learners will be able to select and manipulate the equations of physics to solve complex problems.



Learners will understand that...

  • The difference between displacement and distance is directionality
  • The difference between velocity and speed is directionality
  • A change in position is velocity
  • A change in velocity is acceleration
  • Given any 3 of the following regarding an object: velocity (final and initial), acceleration, time, and distance--the other variables may be determined
  • Real-world outcomes may differ from predictions, due to factors which may be difficult to quantify (friction, air resistance, uncertainties in measurement, etc.)

Essential Questions

Learners will keep considering...

  • How can an object have zero velocity, but non-zero acceleration?
  • What do the units of a value tell us?
  • What is the acceleration due to gravity?
  • How can an observer know if the velocity of an object is changing?
  • How can an observer predict the position of an object, if the acceleration and initial velocity is known?


Learners  will know…

  • Define speed, velocity, acceleration, displacement
  • Describe the difference between instantaneous and average speed or velocity
  • Distinguish between vectors and scalars
  • Describe the effects of friction and air resistance on moving bodies

Learners will be skilled at...

  • Identifying variables in a problem, whether expressed or implied
  • Plot and interpret speed/time, velocity/time, distance/time, acceleration/time graphs
  • Recognize motion for which velocity is constant (uniform) or is not constant (not uniform)
  • Solve problems using equations of uniformly accelerated motion
  • Calculate and interpret areas under and slopes (gradients) of graphs

Stage 2- Evidence


Learners will show that they understand by evidence of…

GRASPS Task written in student-friendly language:


You will create a variety of simulations to demonstrate how the concepts of constant speed, acceleration, time and velocity are interrelated.  You will take at least one of these simulations and mirror it in “real life” to compare the validity of your model.


You will work with a partner on this project.  Your team will transition from learner to teacher as you become more comfortable with the program. Eventually, you will publish a video of your best simulation.


Initially, the class and teacher will view your simulation. At the completion of the project, successful videos will be uploaded to either YouTube or Vimeo for worldwide consumption.  You may choose to integrate EduCanon or Zaption into your project.


You will go through a short set of tutorials using Algodoo to get you comfortable with the program.  As we continue through the course, there will be several opportunities for you to use Algodoo to demonstrate a concept.  For example, you may choose to take a word problem and set up a “scene” which uses the word problem as a script.  When the scene is played, the answers to the word problem will be observed.


At a minimum, you will have a simulation (“scene” in Algodoo speak).  If your project is on track, you will capture a video of your simulation running, and upload it to YouTube with a series of hashtags to encourage views and shares.


Learners  will show they have achieved Stage 1 goals by demonstrating their understanding through the Six Facets of Understanding...


Students will explain the meaning and derivation of an equation such as, “ v = u + at”.  

Students will differentiate between different types of motion.

Students will use a model to emulate a ‘real-life’ situation.


Students will interpret graphs (distance-time, velocity-time, acelleration-time, etc.).  Students will extract meaning from word problems (i.e. “stationary” means velocity 0).


Students will use the equations of motion, “SUVAT” to solve complex problems involving moving bodies.

Have perspective

Students will use reductionism to allow equations to predict the motion of an object.


Students will realize that acceleration produces an enjoyable feeling, but only to a certain extent.

Have self-knowledge

Students will be able to empirically determine the maximum acceleration they are capable of.

Stage 3- Learning Plan

Time Frame (lesson #)

Learning Events

Tech Integration

Progress Monitoring

~3 lessons will have been completed regarding measurement and uncertainty.


Measuring speeds lab

Tech setup

Download Algodoo

Complete tutorial

15 minutes “sandbox” time

Algodoo challenge #1:  Create a scene showing motion and upload it to Algobox.  Give feedback to at least one other peer’s scene

Check that all students were able to make a scene and upload it correctly.


Debrief measuring speeds lab

Vernier Video analysis

Measurement quiz


Graphing speed

Debrief Video analysis


Speed vs. velocity

Algodoo challenge #2: Choose one of the ‘measuring speeds’ lab activities and attempt to accurately model it using Algodoo.


Introduction to acceleration: Sloped carts inquiry lab.  Introduction to ticker tape timers.

Submit scene to Algobox and give feedback to at least one other peer’s scene

Check for submissions.  Give rubric.


Ticker tape summative lab

Algodoo challenge #3: Choose any scenario involving complex motion (see rubric) and create a scene.  Submit scene to Algobox and give feedback to at least one other peer’s scene.


Wrap up:  Peer review, “best of” selection announced.  Review for unit test.

Resources / Materials:

  • Vernier’s Logger Pro (free application--already on your machine)
  • Vernier’s Video Analysis (optional, $2.99 from App store, allows you to do video analysis using your smartphone)
  • www.Algodoo.com
  • www.Algodoo.com/algobox
  • www.physicsclassroom.com
  • All of the kinematics labs used in class.
  • Videos that you take of objects in motion