Introduction: Stop Motion Videos to Review the Equations of Motion

About: Physics teacher looking for inspiration

This project can be used in 11th / 12th grade physics course teaching the equations of motion.

The students will create their own stop motion video by calculating the positions of a chosen object at different times, taking pictures and compiling the video.

Learning objective:
The project gives a great opportunity to exercise the equations of motion, while being a fun and creative activity. Additionally, the students gain insights into the making of videos and cartoons, giving them


- smartphone or digital camera

- software to compile a stop motion video (e.g. PicPac, Stop Motion Studio,...)

- paper, pens, pencils

- calculator

- additional supplies: mini figure, toys,

Step 1: Teach the Equations of Motion

First, the students need to learn the equations of motion. The stop motion project may take place at different times of the course, but I recommend to teach them at least uniform motion, accelerated motion and free fall before the project.

If motion in two dimensios (projectile motion) is also covered before the project, the students will have more different forms of motion to choose from for their video.

They have to be able to calculate the distance d of an object for a given time t and velocity v for the type of motions they are asked to show in their videos.

Step 2: Introduce the Stop Motion Videos

In the second step the making of stop motion videos is explained to the students.

The learning objective in this lesson is to understand that a stop motion video consists of individual pictures. Objects are moved between consecutive pictures to give the illusion of motion.

To create a physically correct motion the position of the objects can be calculated using the equations of motion.

Step 3: Make Your Own Video

Now the students create their own videos.

I recommend to set a few general rules to guide the students, but these may be altered to your taste or needs:

- videos must include at least one object moving with uniform motion and one object with accelerated motion

- total video length must not exceed 60 seconds

In my course most of the students used their smartphones to take the pictures and create the videos.

Step 4: Popcorn and Enjoy!

In the end the students presented their videos at the schools summer party selling popcorn and we had an official voting for the best video.

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