Moving Cart on an Inclined Plane

Highly Recommended
Like all our Science Reasoning Center activities, the completion of the Moving Cart on an Inclined Plane activity requires that a student use provided information about a phenomenon, experiment, or data presentation to answer questions. This information is accessible by tapping on the small thumbnails found on the bottom right of every question screen. However, it may be considerably easier to have a printed copy of this information or to display the information in a separate browser window. You can access this information from this page

The Standards
The Moving Cart on an Inclined Plane activity describes a cart moving up and down and inclined plane and provides a position-time and a velocity-time graph for its motion. Students miust extract position or velocity data from a graph if given a time, extract a time value if given a position or a velocity value, determine a velocity value for given a position (and vice versa), and use information from the graph to support a variety of claims.

Success with the activity requires some degree of proficiency or understanding with respect to  ...
  • Devloping and Using Models (Science and Engineering Practice 2.4)
    Develop and/or use multiple types of models to provide mechanistic accounts and/or predict phenomena, and move flexibly between model types based on merits and limitations.
  • Analyzing and Interpreting Data (Science and Engineering Practice 4.1)
    Analyze data using tools, technologies, and/or models (e.g., computational, mathematical) in order to make valid and reliable scientific claims or determine an optimal design solution.
  • Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking (Science and Engineering Practice 53)
    Use mathematical, computational, and/or algorithmic representations of phenomena or design solutions to describe and/or support claims and/or explanations.
  • Patterns (Crosscutting Concept 1.2)
    Empirical evidence is needed to identify patterns.
  • Stability and Change (Crosscutting Concept 7.4)
    Change and rates of change can be quantified and modeled over very short or very long periods of time. Some system changes are irreversible.  

While the Moving Cart on an Inclined Plane activity addresses the three NextGen Science and Engineering Practices and the two Crosscutting Concept above, the activity drew its greatest inspiration from ACT's College Readiness Standards for Science Reasoning. The activity consists of 48 questions organized into 12 Question Groups that are spread across the three activities. All questions focus on the Interpretation of Data (IOD) strand of the College Readiness Standards. The code given for the standard includes three letters to indicate the strand (IOD) and three numbers to indicate the specific standard within that strand. Higher numbers correlate to more complex science reasoning skills. The relationship between the questions and the standards is as follows:

Complementary and Similar Resources
The following resources at The Physics Classroom website complement the Moving Cart on an Inclined Plane Science Reasoning Activity. Teachers may find them useful for supporting students and for crafting lesson plans and unit plans.

The Physics Classroom Tutorial: Kinematics Chapter, Lessons 3 and 4

Physics Interactives: Kinematic Graphing Simulation

Physics Interactives: Graphs and Ramp

Minds On Physics, Kinematic Graphing module: Missions KG1 - KG8

Concept Builders, 1-D Kinematics, Position-Time Graphs - Conceptual Analysis

Concept Builders, 1-D Kinematics, Position-Time Graphs - Numerical Analysis

Concept Builders, 1-D Kinematics, Velocity-Time Graphs

Calculator Pad, Kinematics, Problem Sets K8 - K12