What is Acceleration?

Process - Lesson

You will need the Acceleration Lesson Worksheet to complete this section.


Acceleration is the rate of change of velocity as a function of time. The units for acceleration are m / s2 (meters per second squared).

How do you calculate it?

In plain terms, acceleration is the rate of increase of velocity. The symbol for acceleration is a. To calculate acceleration of an object, we use the following equation:
a = Dv / Dt
In this equation a = acceleration, Dv = change in velocity, and Dt = change in time.

An example of calculating acceleration

A car goes from 0 to 30 meters per second in 6 seconds.
a = Dv / Dt
a = (end velocity - start velocity) / (end time - start time)
a = (30 - 0) / (6 - 0)
a = 30 / 6
a = 5 m/s2

The faster you push, the farther you get

The more you push on something, the more acceleration it will get, and the faster and farther it will go. Here's a song about it!

A more in-depth look

These videos will give more of an in-depth scientific explanation of acceleration, what it means, and what it's related to.