Visitors to physics land have wondered, with some justification, about our current practices:

"While it is easy for pupils to see that ‘speed’ is a very useful concept with everyday applications, it is not so easy to see what the ‘motivation’ is for introducing one-dimensional velocities...I found it difficult to get a sense of how pupils were persuaded that this opened up new areas of understanding of motion."

I'd hope that this observation would not apply to the current scheme, where the vectors do real work in the mental model that the scheme promotes, and form a necessary part of a coherent explanatory narrative. There will, of course, as with any new approach, be some transitional pain, but I think that it's at least plausible that such an approach could be fruitful and cause significantly fewer difficulties for both teachers and learners in being able to reason with the tautologies of kinematics.

Sources and further reading

For thinking about time and motion:

Arons, A.B.(1997): Teaching introductory physics, Wiley

For thinking about reasoning:

Johnson-Laird, P.N.(1983): Mental Models, Cambridge University Press.

For thinking about accumulations:

Lawrence, I. (2004). Modelling simply, without algebra: beyond the spreadsheet. Physics Education, 39(3), 281-288.

Lawrence, I(2007). Re-ordering kinematics through simple computer-mediated tool. in GIREP EPEC Conference Frontiers of Physics Education (2007; Opatija) Selected contributions, edited by R. Jurdana-Šepić, V. Labinac, M. Žuvić-Butorac, A. Sušac (Rijeka: Zlatni rez), ISBN 978-953-55066-1-4. p. 361–367.

For thinking about explanatory sequences:

Ogborn, J.(1996): Explaining Science in the Classroom, Open University Press A sample of research into the success of conventional approaches:

Shaffer, P., McDermott, L.(2005). A research-based approach to improving student understanding of the vector nature of kinematical concepts. American Journal of Physics 73, 921.

For how to make an LED flasher:

T. Terzella, J. Sundermier, J. Sinacore, C. Owen, H. Takai(2008): Measurement of g Using a Flashing LED. The Physics Teacher, Vol. 46, October 2008, p.395-397

To help you reflect on the value of critical thinking and teacher rituals:

Viennot, L. (2001). Reasoning in Physics. Dordrecht: Kluwer Academic Publishers.

Viennot, L(2014): Thinking in Physics: The pleasure of reasoning and understanding, Springer

As starters for sources of stories of journeys :

MapmyRide is at

Strava is at

A (cheapish) programmable and steerable robot is Sphero™, at