Common Sense Review
Updated November 2015

Vernier Video Physics

Build conceptual knowledge by graphing movement of everyday objects
Common Sense Rating 3
  • Students can easily save and share their videos.
  • Sample videos help students get started.
  • Students tap to add points in tracking an object's motion, or the app can do this automatically.
  • The information page gives an overview and links to additional support.
  • Kids can view graphs of an object's trajectory and x/y position and velocity.
Fantastic tool for teaching students the physics behind the things that move in their world.
Manually setting up the graphs can be somewhat tricky, so be sure kids have plenty of time to practice.
Bottom Line
Bring real-life science into your classroom as you teach students about motion.
Debbie Gorrell
Common Sense Reviewer
Common Sense Rating 3
Engagement Is the product stimulating, entertaining, and engrossing? Will kids want to return? 4

Students will love analyzing data based on their own videos they've created. It's exciting to see connections between physics concepts and the real world.

Pedagogy Is learning content seamlessly baked-in, and do kids build conceptual understanding? Is the product adaptable and empowering? Will skills transfer? 3

Students learn how to use videos to analyze data and study the motion of everyday objects.

Support Does the product take into account learners of varying abilities, skill levels, and learning styles? Does it address both struggling and advanced students? 3

The developer's website has a fairly detailed FAQ section, and you can get free experiments, lab ideas, and more by signing up for a mailing list.

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How Can Teachers Use It?

Integrate Vernier Video Physics into one of your units about motion. Lots of students already love to take videos; here they'll put their skills to use as they learn about science. Once students have a basic understanding of the unit's important concepts, give them at least a few days to explore the app and practice using the tool. Start by having them work in small groups and use the sample videos to explore the app's features. Then, ask kids to brainstorm and make a list of objects they might want to record. If possible, give your students the option of recording objects outside.

Be sure to offer enough time to practice with the tool before worrying about data collection. Remind students to keep the camera in a fixed position and to only record objects that remain approximately in a plane perpendicular to the camera's view. Finally, instruct each group to record their object and create the graphs. Try using both the automatic tracking feature and the manual tracking feature. Choose a method for sharing data that works best for your classroom, and discuss each group's results as a class. 

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What's It Like?

Vernier Video Physics is a video-analysis tool that helps students study principles of motion using a tablet or mobile device. To start, kids record video of an object moving perpendicularly to their camera's view. Then, they can tap to mark the object's position, frame by frame, and set up a graphing scale using two points that are a known distance apart. Finally, kids drag to select the coordinate system origin position, and the app automatically creates trajectory, x and y position, and velocity graphs for the object. Alternatively, kids can try using the app to automatically track an object's motion.  

A handful of sample videos get kids started, as do plenty of options for sharing videos and data. Kids can save information to the device's camera roll, open data in Dropbox, or share it using AirDrop. There is also an option to email data for further analysis to another program called Logger Pro. This is a nice perk but only for users who have access to this additional software. 

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Is It Good For Learning?

With Vernier Video Physics, students have a great opportunity to make connections between science and real-life situations. By recording their own videos, kids can directly visualize and learn about important concepts related to an object's motion. For example, a student might want to record some video footage of a playground swing in action. They can then set up the app to analyze a specific portion of the swing's motion and study its path and velocity as a function of time. Data collection and analysis are essential skills for kids to learn, and they will get plenty of practice by using this innovative tool.

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See how teachers are using Vernier Video Physics

Lesson Plans