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Douglas Brown Cabrillo College, Aptos, CA dobrown@cabrillo.edu AAPT 2008 Summer Meeting, Edmonton Poster PST3-15

Abstract

The Tracker video analysis program allows users to overlay simple dynamic particle models on a video clip. In a typical video modeling experiment students capture and open a digital video file, calibrate the scale, and define appropriate coordinate axes just as for traditional video analysis. But instead of tracking objects with the mouse, students define theoretical force expressions and initial conditions for a dynamic model simulation that synchronizes with and draws itself on the video. The behavior of the model is thus compared directly with that of the real-world motion. Tracker uses the Open Source Physics code library so sophisticated models are possible. Video modeling offers advantages over both traditional video analysis and simulationonly modeling. This electronic poster will showcase video modeling experiments produced by students in my Fall 2007 Introductory Mechanics course. Tracker is available at <http://www.cabrillo.edu/~dbrown/tracker/>.

capture videos and compare. Construct models. This poster showcases video modeling experiments conducted by students in my Fall 2007 Introductory Mechanics course. But instead of tracking objects with a mouse.Introduction The free Tracker video analysis program1 allows users to overlay simple dynamic particle models on a video clip. Tracker uses the Open Source Physics2 code library so relatively sophisticated models are possible. The assignment was very open-ended: Identify a mechanical system for which the behavior of the system can be (a) captured on video and (b) modeled as a set of one or more particles. In a typical video modeling experiment students capture and/or open a digital video file. . students define theoretical force expressions and initial conditions for a dynamic model simulation that synchronizes with and draws itself on the video. The behavior of the model is thus compared directly with that of the real-world motion. calibrate the scale. and define appropriate coordinate axes just as for traditional video analysis. Students worked in small groups on this multi-week project in both scheduled labs and a required drop-in learning center with peer tutor and instructor support.

vx. mathematical and logical operators. x.Building models Students define dynamic models by entering force functions and initial conditions in a “Model Builder” as shown in Figure 1. Model Builder for a monkey falling with a parachute . mass m is a built-in parameter students may define additional parameters (names and values) as desired parameter and initial value expressions may be numbers or functions of parameters force expressions are functions of motion variables (t. The motion of the models is computed with an ODE solver using a Runge-Kutta algorithm with an adaptive step size. vy) and parameters students can undo/redo all edits Figure 1. Function expressions are interpreted and evaluated using a parser which recognizes parameter and variable names. common math functions and if statements. y.

Shooting a monkey falling with a parachute .” they modeled it as a particle experiencing gravitational and drag forces as shown in Figure 1.” they then predicted the initial velocity angle needed to hit the monkey. After making their prediction. Before trying to shoot this “monkey with a parachute. Using a similar model “dart.Monkey with a parachute One student group updated the traditional monkey/hunter demo by substituting a coffee filter for the falling monkey. they hit the real coffee filter on the first try (Figure 2)! Figure 2.

Frictional damping . The model displays a linear amplitude decay that agrees well with the motion of a real cart captured on video and marked with a mouse (Figure 4). Figure 3. The Model Builder shows the use of a separately defined frictional force “f” and an if statement to specify its direction (Figure 3). Use of an if statement Figure 4.Spring wars Here students modeled a cart being pulled by opposing springs and slowed by friction.

Comparing the model (purple) with a real cart . The model cart was placed just above the real cart in the video for easy comparison as seen in Figure 6.Bouncing cart This group modeled a cart bouncing from a spring at the lower end of a tilted air track. Model Builder Figure 6. The decreasing bounce heights were assumed to result from friction between the cart and track rather than from an imperfect spring. Figure 5. The “fx” force expression uses an if statement to apply the spring force only when the cart has reached the spring position “xs” (Figure 5).

Ball suspended from an accelerating cart. .Accelerating cart pendulum What is the motion of a ball suspended from an accelerating cart? My students first discovered “experimentally” that the model ball’s acceleration was sinusoidal—then were able to relate the motion theoretically to a pendulum in a skewed gravitational field! Figure 7.

5. intuitive and capable of discerning fine differences. 2. Dynamic particle models based on Newton’s laws provide a natural first exposure to the modeling process for students in introductory physics.6 and animation-only modeling and offers these additional advantages: 1. its ability to compare the models with real-world videos combines features of both traditional video analysis5. Visual agreement may validate models more convincingly than numerical or graphical comparisons for beginning students. While Tracker’s particle models are more limited. Students study real objects but focus on identifying forces rather than tracking and analyzing motion. 3. Other modeling tools such as Easy Java Simulations4 also give students a relatively simple way to build particle (and many other) models and to control virtually every aspect of the modeling process. 4. Visual disagreement leads naturally to explorations of limitations and refinements of models.Discussion Computer modeling that engages students directly in the development of physical models is becoming an increasingly important part of physics education3. . Quantitative analysis of model and/or video data can support and extend the visual comparison to any degree desired. Visual comparisons are rapid.

282-287 (May 1998). Esquembre. Brown and A. “Using Digital Video Analysis in Introductory Mechanics Projects. 4.opensourcephysics. Christian and F. Tracker: http://www.” Phys. Teach. “Modeling Physics with Easy Java Simulations. 3. 36. Easy Java Simulations: http://www. 45. Anne Cox and Bill Junkin for their invaluable expertise and guidance.edu/~dbrown/tracker/ Open Source Physics: http://www.org/ W. .” Phys. The Open Source Physics project is supported in part by the National Science Foundation grant DUE-0442481. Laws and H. Teach. (early 2009) P. Teach. References 1.” Phys.Acknowledgements Many thanks to Wolfgang Christian and the Open Source Physics team Mario Belloni.cabrillo. 475-480 (Nov 2007). 5.es/fem/Ejs/ D. Francisco Esquembre. Pfister.um. 6. J. “Innovative Uses of Video Analysis. 2. Cox.

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