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independent variable

The experimental factor that is manipulated; the variable whose effect is being studied.

dependent variable

the outcome factor; the variable that may change in response to manipulations of the independent variable

control variable

The variable that does not change in an experiment

frame of reference

a system of objects that are not moving with respect to one another


how far an object moves


the change in position of an object


a quantity that has magnitude and direction


the distance an object travels per unit of time

instantaneous speed

the speed of an object at any given time


the speed of an object in a particular direction


The rate at which velocity changes.

instantaneous acceleration

the change in velocity at an instant of time


a push or pull exerted on an object

terminal velocity

the greatest velocity a falling object reaches

projectile motion

the curved path that an object follows when thrown, launched, or otherwise projected near the surface of the earth

Newton's 1st Law (the law of inertia)

An object in motion will stay in motion and an object at rest will stay at rest unless acted upon by an ouside force

Newton's 2nd Law

Te acceleration of an object is directly proportional to the net force acting on the object, is in the direction of the net force, and is inversely proportional to the mass of the object

Newton's 3rd Law

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction


mass multiplied the acceleration of gravity


the amount of matter within an object


the product of an object's mass and its velocity


force exerted on an object in the way that an object is moving


the amount of work done in a certain time

centripetal force

A force that causes an object to move in a circle


a device that makes work easier

mechanical advantage

the number of times a machine increases a force exerted on it


the percentage of the input work that is converted to output work

compound machine

a combination of two or more simple machines

Distance-time graph

graph in which distance is measured against time

Formula for acceleration

Change in velocity/total time, V(2)-V(1)/t

Formula for average speed


relative motion

the change in position of one object compared to the position of another

acceleration of gravity

acceleration of a falling object

free fall

the motion of a falling object when the only force acting on it is gravity

speed-time graph

shows the speed of an object during a specific time

units for force


static friction

friction that acts on objects that are not moving

sliding friction

friction that occurs when one solid surface slides over another

rolling friction

friction that occurs when an object rolls over a surface

fluid friction

friction that occurs as an object moves through a fluid

strongest type of friction



effort expended in rubbing one object against another


(physics) the force of attraction between all masses in the universe

acceleration of gravity on Earth

9.8 meters/second/second

4 Universal forces

electromagnetic, gravitational, weak, strong.


movement of large bodies of water up and down based on the moons gravitational pull

spring tides

occur during the full and new moons, tides are very high and very low

neap tides

lowest tidal range occurring near the times of the first quarter and third quarter phases of the moon; The tides with the smallest variation in water level

diurnal pattern

a tidal pattern exhibiting one high tide and one low tide during a tidal day; a daily tide

semidiurnal pattern

A tidal pattern exhibiting two nearly equal high and low tides per day

mixed tidal pattern

two high and two low waters each day with large inequalities in high water heights, low water heights, or both


(physics) the capacity of a physical system to do work

kinetic energy

energy in motion

potential energy

Stored energy

conservation of energy

a fundamental principle stating energy cannot be created nor destroyed but only changed from one form to another

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