Linear Relations and Constant Velocity

Barbara Carson and Todd Mickley
Lake Park High School
West Campus

Brief Summary:An integrated lesson on constant velocity and linear expressions. During the lesson, students will use technology to explore motion, collect data, and retrieve data from the internet. The students will be asked to construct and analyze the performance of a car. The students then adjust the car based on the analysis to improve the performance.

Grade Level: Junior Level Physics and Advanced Algebra

Links to Standards: Click below to view them in a through the browser.

Science Math
Goal 11 Goal 8
Goal 12 Goal 10
Goal 13

Or download the spreadsheet for math or science.

Materials Needed: Computers with internet access, during day 3-5. TI-83 for each student, ULI interface with Motion detector, Physics with Computers experiment files, Average Velocity Lab experiment file, various materials for Physics 300 as stated in lab.

Commentary on Subject Matter: Science is the application of math. Math is used to explain what you see in a science lab. The two are dependent on each other and yet are not usually presented in a way that allows students to benefit from the close integration of science discovery and mathematical analysis. Our hope for this project, is to correlate the subject matter in the two curricula to allow an almost seamless link between scientific discovery and mathematical analysis. Although the scope of this project only involves a 5 – 6 day unit, there are many other links between these two courses which we plan to explore in the future.

Commentary on Instructional Approaches: Math and science have chosen the path of specific methodology with fictitious data and rote memorization. In this project, we have chosen a different path by concentrating on student data gathering and problem-solving. Physics is usually taught in its own way and order, dependent mainly on the text. Physics teachers are in a constant battle with the students’ ability to use the equations that model the concepts in physics. By correlating the schedules of the two courses and constant communication between teachers, the students can use the data collected in science class to discover and practice the development of models and interpretations of graphs in math class. The alignment of the courses will show students the relation and application between science and mathematics. This approach will also allow for more time to conduct experiments and analyze the data, because students will essentially have two class periods to complete it. There is no overlapping of class time, that is, the classes are not taught in two consecutive periods, but students will have a full science period to collect the data and a full math period to analyze and interpret it.

Links to Field Trips:This project is directly linked to all of the field trips through its emphasis on problem solving. Students are asked to construct a car that needs to meet specific performance levels, through the analysis of data, the students need to decide how they can improve the performance of the car. This project relies on the interpretation of graphs and the correct interpretation of these graphs to determine the changes in design of the car. This is also a topic that was discussed at each of the field trips.


Physics Advanced Algebra
Graph Matching
Average Velocity Lab
Discussion of Linear Functions
Discussion of Constant Velocity Graphing "Best Fit" Lines
Physics 300 -
Car Construction / Data Collection
Using the TI-83® to Graph "Best Fit" Lines
Physics 300 -
Data Collection and Analysis
Data Collection and Analysis
Physics 300 -
Race / Report
Data Collection and Analysis
Turn in Assessments