Speed is a measure of how fast an object is moving. It is calculated by dividing the distance traveled by the time it takes to travel that distance. For example, if a car travels a distance of 100 miles in 2 hours, its speed is 50 miles per hour (mph).
Velocity is a measure of both the speed and direction of an object’s motion. It is a vector quantity, which means it has both magnitude (size) and direction. For example, if a car is traveling east at a speed of 50 mph, its velocity is 50 mph east.
Acceleration is a measure of how quickly an object changes its velocity. It is calculated by dividing the change in velocity by the time it takes to make that change. For example, if a car accelerates from a speed of 0 mph to 60 mph in 10 seconds, its acceleration is 6 mph/s (6 miles per hour per second).
Sample Test Question
Here are some examples of speed, velocity, and acceleration problems that you can use as a worksheet:
- A car travels a distance of 100 miles in 2 hours. What is its average speed in miles per hour?
- A person runs a marathon with a total time of 4 hours and 15 minutes. The marathon is 26.2 miles long. What is the runner’s average speed in miles per hour?
- A car accelerates from a speed of 0 mph to 60 mph in 10 seconds. What is the car’s acceleration in miles per hour per second?
- A jetliner travels at a velocity of 500 mph for a period of 3 hours. How far does it travel in that time?
- A person jumps off a diving board and falls towards the water at a constant acceleration of 32 feet per second squared. If the person starts from a height of 10 feet, how long does it take them to reach the water?
Solutions to the problems:
- The average speed of the car is 50 mph because 100 / 2 = <<100/2=50>>50
- The average speed of the runner is 6.06 mph because (4 hours + 15 minutes / 60 minutes/hour) / 26.2 miles = 6.06 mph
- The acceleration of the car is 6 mph/s because (60 mph – 0 mph) / 10 s = 6 mph/s
- The jetliner travels 1500 miles because 500 mph * 3 hours = 1500 miles
- It takes the person 1.56 seconds to reach the water because sqrt(2*10 feet / 32 feet/s^2) = 1.56 s
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