Force and Motion

Term Definition

reference point

the starting point you choose to describe the location or position of an object

position describes an object’s distance and direction from a reference point.


the difference between the initial , or starting point and its final position.

motion the process of changing position
speed the distance an object moves in a unit of time.
velocity the speed and direction of a moving object
acceleration a measure of how quickly the velocity of an object changes.

distance -time graph

a graph that shows how distance and time are related

speed-time graph shows the speed of an object on the y-axis and time on the x-axis.
contact force a push or a pull one object applies to another object that is touching it.
noncontact force a force that one object applies to another object without touching.
friction a contact force that resists the sliding motion of two surfaces that are touching.
air resistance the frictional force between air and the objects moving through it.
Newton's First Law of Motion states that if the net force acting on an object is zero, the motion of the object does not change.
Newton's Second Law of Motion states that acceleration of an object is equal to the net force exerted on the object divided by the object’s mass.
Newton's Third Law of Motion states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.
energy the ability to cause change
kinetic energy the energy of motion
potential energy stored energy due to the interactions between objects or particles.
work the transfer of energy that occurs when a force is applied over a distance.

mechanical energy

the total energy of an object or group of objects due to large-scale motions and interactions.

sound energy the energy due to sound.
thermal energy energy due to the motion of particles that make up an object.
electrical energy energy that an electric current carries.
radiant/light energy energy that electromagnetic waves carry.
nuclear energy -energy that is stored in the nucleus of the atom.

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