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Simple Harmonic Motion with Motion Graphs


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A low-friction glider moves on an air track. Springs apply forces to the glider that cause simple harmonic motion. The motion graphs above are not animated, nor computer generated. They are recordings of data collected from a Vernier ultrasonic motion detector.

Students use this video to observe the relationship between the position, velocity, and acceleration of an object moving in simple harmonic motion.


Instructor Note

When teaching with this video, direct students to the student video library, which provides student access to all videos without links to instructor materials and solutions.

Simple Harmonic Motion with graphs in DMV Player

Teaching Materials

This video can be used as a conceptual introduction to the kinematics of simple harmonic motion. Students can observe, compare, and contrast the position, velocity and acceleration of the glider at different times. Here are some example questions to guide students:

  • At what location is the velocity the at a maximum?
  • At what location is the acceleration at a maximum?
  • Sometimes people claim it is impossible for an object which is not moving to be accelerating. They say that if v=0, then it must be true that a=0. Use this example to respond to this claim.