A student using a ruler

Measuring Speed

Students who are blind or visually impaired measure distance and time to calculate the speed at which a marble travels.

Students measure the distance a marble rolls and the time it takes to roll. They then calculate the speed using the equation: Speed = Distance / Time.



Gather the materials for the lab. 


Demonstration of set up of speed labPlease see the pictures on this page and the video below for clarification of set up of lab. 

  1. Find a space on the counter or table with over a meter space available
  2. Place 2 books on one end of the desk.
  3. Lean the grooved ruler (groove up) on the books.
  4. Place another book at the end of the desk.  This book will stop the marble.
  5. Measure the distance from the end of the grooved ruler on the desk to the book at the other end of the desk.  The is the distance that the marble will roll.  Record this distance.
  6. Prepare the Stopwatch 
  7. Prepare to begin timing and roll the marble down the grooved ruler.
  8. Start calculating time with the stopwatch when the marble hits the table.  See Accessible Time Tracking.  (See recent adaptation for using sound instead of vision for this task.)
  9. Record the time traveled. 
  10. Using the formula Speed = Distance / Time, calculate speed in m/ sec. It will be necessary to convert from cm to m. 
  11. Repeat  #6-#10 two more times.
  12. Calculate the average of the three speed calculations. 


NGSS Standards

Middle School – Forces and Interactions

PS2.A: Forces and Motion

By Laura Hospitál

Collage of measuring speed

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