From the classroom, to the Universe

Tracker in Teaching Physics

Tracker is an amazing program for physics. It is designed to analyze motion and do modeling from from video clips. It can be used in a bunch of topics in mechanics and the best thing about this program  is – its free.

One of the things you can use tracker is in teaching projectiles. Students can easily see how an object behaves as it moves through the air in the x and y component.

1.  Using a camera, (or a phone cam) ask them to record  the motion of the ball tossed on air, like this:

2.  Load the video on Tracker, create a point mass (the object that we need to investigate), track its movement either manually (by shift + click each frame) or autotrack it.

3.  Let them investigate the data at the right side of the panel, ask them to look at the x and y velocity of the ball.

4. The students can then discover that an object thrown in the air experiences different motion in the x and y component.

With this program, you can also do authentic assessments by letting them find if  a video is faked or not.  Here are some things that you can use in your class or have your student try for themselves.

Master Hung of Ip Man:

https://paperchalkdustandstars.wordpress.com/2012/08/06/tracker-and-master-hung-of-ip-man-2/

Kobe Bryant Jumps over a Pool of Snakes:

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2008/11/kobe-bryant-jumping-over-a-pool-of-snakes/

Angry Birds

http://blog.peterkupfer.net/2011/03/05/angry-birds-physics/

and a lot of other stuff that you can get from movies (even you tube vids like Dude Perfect) to analyze it with the program.   This could be another way ( better and a lot cooler) to test students (which are digital natives by the way)  aside from conventional quiz that we give.

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