About Up and Down

Highly Recommended
Like all our Science Reasoning Center activities, the completion of the Up and Down 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. 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 Up and Down activity describes a demonstration in which a ball is launched upward from a cart moving at a constant speed. The motion of the ball is analyzed using video analysis and the results are presented in the form of a position (both x- and y-) vs. time graph and a velocity vector diagram. Questions target a student's ability to read, interpret, and interpolate from a graph, to formulate models that are consistent with data, and to translate information from one representation to another representation (e.g, from a diagram to a graph, and vice versa).

Success with the activity requires some degree of proficiency with respect to  ...
  • Developing and Using Models (Science and Engineering Practice 2.3)
    Develop, revise, and/or use a model based on evidence to illustrate and/or predict the relationships between systems or between components of a system.
  • 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.
  • Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking (Science and Engineering Practice 5.3)
    Use mathematical, computational, and/or algorithmic representations of phenomena to describe and/or support claims and/or explanations.
  • Patterns (Crosscutting Concept 1.5)
    Mathematical representations are needed to identify some patterns.
  • Stability and Change (Crosscutting Concept 7.1)
    Much of science deals with constructing explanations of how things change and how they remain stable.
  • 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 Up and Down activity addresses the three NextGen Science and Engineering Practices and the three crosscutting concept above, the activity drew its greatest inspiration from ACT's College Readiness Standards for Science Reasoning. The activity consists of 49 questions organized into 13 Question Groups that are spread across the four activities. Two strands (Interpretation of Data - IOD and Evaluation of Models, Inferences, and Experimental Results - EMI) of the College Readiness Standards are addressed in this activity. The code given for the standard includes three letters to indicate the strand and three numbers to indicate the specific standard within that strand. Higher numbers are indicative of 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 Up and Down Science Reasoning Activity. Teachers may find them useful for supporting students and/or as components of lesson plans and unit plans.

Physics Classroom Tutorial, Vectors - Motion and Forces in Two Dimensions, Lesson 2

Physics Video Tutorial, Vectors and Projectiles: Motion Characteristics of Projectiles

Physics Interactives, Vectors and Projectiles Chapter, Projectile Simulator

Physics Interactives, Vectors and Projectiles Chapter, Trajectory Simulator

Concept Builders, Vectors and Projectiles: Trajectory - Angle-Launched Projectiles

Concept Builders, Vectors and Projectiles: Which One Doesn't Belong - Projectiles

Minds On Physics, Vectors and Projectiles Module, Mission VP7 - VP10

The Calculator Pad, Vectors and Projectiles, Problem Sets VP11 - VP17