Lesson Plan: Length Contraction Physics

This lesson plan includes the objectives, prerequisites, and exclusions of the lesson teaching students how to calculate the change in the length of an object that is moving at a high speed relative to an observer.


Students will be able to

  • understand that objects that move relative to the reference frame of the observer are shorter along the direction that they move in,
  • use Δ𝑥=Δ𝑥𝜆 in all permutations for both SI units and units of C,
  • understand Minkowski diagrams that show length contraction.


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

  • time dilation,
  • velocity transformations,
  • coordinate transforms,
  • metrics,
  • intervals,
  • the relativistic Doppler Effect.

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