Worksheets and lesson ideas to challenge students aged 11 to 16 to think hard about speed, distance-time, acceleration and motion (GCSE and Key Stage 3)
Watch this clip below of a man versus a plane. Who is going to win the race? This clip can serve as an excellent platform to begin thinking about the difference between average speed, instantaneous speed and acceleration.
Distance-time graphs and calculating speed
Key Stage 3 activity on distance-time graphs and speed. Students walk through a distance time graph in the classroom before sketching a distance-time graph for different activities. Ask students to draw a distance-time graph for their journey into school before modelling how to calculate speed from a distance-time graph. Focus on how the units of speed help us. (PDF)
Breaking distance, stopping distance and thinking distance
Why is the UK speed limit 70 mph? This is a great question to pose before you introduce the concept of stopping distance. Most students will believe the speed limit is set at 70 mph because travelling fast is dangerous. Although this is true, the real danger comes from the fact that travelling fast makes it hard to stop. The 70 mph speed limit was set in 1965 when cars weren’t quite so good at stopping. This clip from Top Gear will help students appreciate cars from the past! Should then the speed limit increase to reflect the advancements in motor car technology and if so, to what speed?! A good question that could be answered with some simple maths.