The image is of race cars turning on a racetrack.

Measuring Velocity: An active model

In this simple interactive activity, students with visual impairments differentiate speed and velocity.

Students will measure distance traveled and time traveled to determine velocity in a similar manner to speed determination in the activity:  Using an Active Model to Measure Speed . However, velocity differs from speed in that it is a vector quantity and includes a direction.

This activity should follow the above-mentioned activity, ideally within a day or two so that content from the speed activity is still fresh in the students’ minds. It should also immediately follow instruction on velocity.

Related Vocabulary





Have students prepare to complete a written warm-up.  Ask students what information was necessary to determine speed.  Have students write down what was measured and the formula used.  In this manner all students have the opportunity to respond. Discuss only after all students are done.  Tell students that today we will measure not only speed, but also velocity.  Ask students to remember the prior lesson:  What else will be part of this measurement?  Discuss:  Velocity is determined by dividing distance by time (like speed), but includes direction as well.

See Jim Clark’s 3-variable formula triangle, if students are having difficulty using the formula.

Determining Velocity:

Distance measurement using the trundle wheel:

Trundle wheel

Time measurement using a stopwatch:

Calculation of speed

Closure: Calculation of Velocity

NGSS Standards

Middle School – Forces and Interactions

PS2.A: Forces and Motion
All positions of objects and the directions of forces and motions must be described in an arbitrarily chosen reference frame and arbitrarily chosen units of size. In order to share information with other people, these choices must also be shared. (MS-PS2-2)

By Laura Hospitál

Collage of measuring velocity

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