What is Acceleration?

Process - Activity



Print out the Acceleration Activity Worksheet and graph paper. You will need both to complete this activity.

What is My Acceleration?

Purpose:

The purpose of this activity is to learn how to measure acceleration and "deceleration." You will calculate your acceleration over a 20 m run and then graph your results.

Procedure:

Each of you will measure your own acceleration over a 20 m run. You will run 20 m from the start line and accelerate to as fast as you can go. At the 20m line, you will stop. At 5 meter intervals your time will be recorded by the timers. On the data table, record your times under the distance you traveled. From this data you will be able to calculate your velocity at each point.

Data Table:

Distance (m) 0 meters 5 meters 10 meters 15 meters 20 meters
Time (s)
Velocity (m/s)

Calculations:

Show your work for the following.

  1. Calculate your acceleration from the 0m to the 10m point. Are you accelerating or decelerating over this distance? Initial Velocity = Velocity at 0 meters. Final Velocity = Velocity at 10 meters. Use time at 10 meters.
  2. Calculate your acceleration from the 10m to 20m point. Are you accelerating or decelerating over this distance? Initial Velocity = Velocity at 10 meters. Final Velocity = Velocity at 20 meters. Use time from 10 meters to 20 meters (hint, you need to subtract to find the time you ran from 10m to 20 m).

Graph:

Set up a graph on your own paper. Place distance on the Y axis and Time on the X axis. Be sure to follow all rules of graphing.

Questions:

  1. Did you see an upward curve on your graph? If so, what does that tell you about your acceleration?
  2. On your graph, did you see the line flatten out to horizontal? What does that tell you about your acceleration?