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Calculating Acceleration from Velocity and Time

Calculations showing change in velocity / change in time.

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In a Flash!

In a Flash!

Credit: H?kan Dahlstr?m
Source: http://www.fotopedia.com/items/flickr-252549185
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

This pro ice hockey player is racing over the ice. He whizzes by the spectators in a flash. Hockey is one of the fastest of all sports. A professional hockey player may reach skating speeds of close to 30 miles per hour!

Why It Matters

  • Fast skaters have a big advantage in hockey. Speed allows them to duck into spaces between other players and escape the other team’s defense.
  • Credit: RichardBH
    Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rbh/12762670535/
    License: CC BY-NC 3.0

    A higher velocity and acceleration will allow player #11 to get away from the blue defenders [Figure2]


  • In addition to speed, velocity and acceleration are important measures of a hockey player’s movements on the ice. 
  • Credit: OpenStax College
    Source: http://cnx.org/content/m42045/1.9/
    License: CC BY-NC 3.0

    Example of how velocity can be calculated in relation to ice hockey [Figure3]

  • To see how these measures apply to ice hockey and how they are calculated, watch this video: http://www.nbclearn.com/nhl/cuecard/56612

Can You Apply It?

With the links below, learn more about speed, velocity, and acceleration. Then answer the following questions.

  1. Velocity describes two things about a moving hockey player. What are they?
  2. Assume that a hockey player skates 60 feet in 3 seconds. What is the player’s speed? If the hockey player travels this distance from East to West, what is his velocity?
  3. What happens when a hockey player accelerates?
  4. Assume a hockey player accelerates from 0 ft/s to 24 ft/s over a period of 2 seconds. What is his acceleration if his direction does not change? Explain in words what this acceleration means.

Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: H?kan Dahlstr?m; Source: http://www.fotopedia.com/items/flickr-252549185; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  2. [2]^ Credit: RichardBH; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/rbh/12762670535/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0
  3. [3]^ Credit: OpenStax College; Source: http://cnx.org/content/m42045/1.9/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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