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Name ___________________________________

Date ________________

Block __________

Speed & Velocity Lab

Background: How long does it take a car to move 3 meters? We all have a good idea that if it takes a smaller
period of time to move 3 meters, the car must be moving faster. But how do we measure the speed of a toy car.
In your own car, it is easy because engineers have designed a speedometer that automatically tells you how fast
your car is moving.


or simplified as v


Purpose: In this lab, you are going to determine the speed of a toy car. Furthermore, you will learn the
relationship between distance and velocity. Finally, you will use your data in order to graph and interpret
position vs. time graphs and velocity vs. time graphs.

Toy Car



Meter Stick

1. Using a piece of tape, mark off the following locations on the floor: 0 meters, 1 meter, 2 meters, 3 meters.
2. There should be a timer at the 1 meter mark, 2 meter mark, and 3 meter mark.
3. Place the car on the floor 0.5 meters in front of the tape that is marked at 0 meters. Pull the car back until it
reaches the 0 meter mark. When the front of the car reaches the 0 meter mark, you are ready to start.
4. Let the car go and ALL THE TIMERS should start their stopwatches.
5. Then, each group member should stop the stopwatch when the front of the car reaches their mark.
a. Example: If you are at the 2 meter mark, stop your timer when the car crosses the 2 meter mark.
6. After you are finished repeat the procedure 3 times and record the information in Table 1. Then calculate
the average speed and velocity at each point.
7. Using the data in Table 1, graph your results.
a. Graph 1 Distance (y-axis) vs. Average Time (x-axis)
b. Graph 2 Velocity (y-axis) vs. Average Time (x-axis)

Time (s)

Time (s)

Time (s)

Trial 1

Trial 2

Trial 3

Average Time (s)


Graph 1 - Distance vs. Time

Velocity (m/s)

distance m


Graph 2 - Velocity vs. Time

Analysis Questions:

1. What is the reason for rerunning the experiment with multiple trials? Why not let the car run one time and
record the time? _________________________________________________________________________
2. How did you calculate velocity (give the equation)?

3. What units does the velocity of the car have? _______________

4. After looking at Table 1, did the car drive at perfectly constant rate? Explain how you came to this
conclusion. ____________________________________________________________________________
5. Describe the basic shape of your distance vs. time graph. What does this tell you about how the car was
moving? _______________________________________________________________________________
6. Describe the basic shape of your velocity vs. time graph. What does this tell you about the speed of the
car? __________________________________________________________________________________
7. If a cars velocity is increasing, we would say that the car is _______________________________.
8. What would happen to the calculation for the velocity if you made the car go in the opposite direction?
Explain your answer. ___________________________________________________________________