Lesson Plan: Time Dilation Physics • 9th Grade

This lesson plan includes the objectives, prerequisites, and exclusions of the lesson teaching students how to calculate the change in the amount of time between two events as measured in different reference frames.


Students will be able to

  • understand that time passes more slowly for objects moving relative to the observer’s reference frame,
  • use Δ𝑡=𝛾Δ𝑡, the relationship between the time measured by a moving observer and proper time, in all permutations using both SI units and units of 𝑐,
  • understand how to use Δ𝑡=𝛾Δ𝑡 in combination with calculations of the travel time of light,
  • understand Minkowski diagrams that show time dilation.


Students should already be familiar with

  • inertial reference frames,
  • Einstein’s postulates,
  • the Lorentz factor,
  • events and world lines in Minkowski diagrams.


Students will not cover

  • length contraction,
  • velocity transformations,
  • coordinate transforms,
  • metrics,
  • intervals,
  • the relativistic Doppler effect.

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