Most physics courses begin with one-dimensional kinematics, which is usually restricted to the case of constant acceleration. Here we report a unique exercise for an introductory algebra-based physics course involving the running and non-constant acceleration of the theropod dinosaur Dilophosaurus wetherilli and the world-famous Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt. Given the interest that most students have about dinosaurs (as well as Usain Bolt), students are excited to examine a hypothetical 100-meter race between Dilophosaurus and Usain Bolt. Since these students have not yet taken calculus, and as part of our effort to build computational skills in our students, numerical methods are used via a spreadsheet to calculate displacements and accelerations numerically from velocity data. This work includes a discussion of uncertainties.

Supplementary Material

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