5. Measuring Acceleration

Success Criteria

Your learning has been successful if you can do the following:


Learn these so you can communicate this concept well.

Lesson 4: Hei Mahi (Do Now)

Do Now:

Collect and complete this small 'Do Now'. Then glue into your SciPAD page 11. Use your commonsense when glueing - don't glue straight on-top of words!

Lesson 4: Exit Task

Find some space on page 15 of your PESS1.2 SciPAD,
and answer the following questions:

What does each letter in CUTLASS stand for? 

The Speedometer

Speedometers measure the instantaneous speed of a vehicle at any given moment. With it, you can measure the initial velocity and final velocity of the vehicle to calculate the change in velocity.

You would need to know the time interval between the initial and final speed measurements in order to be able to calculate the acceleration, using the following equation:

Note: This change from initial speed to final speed is due to acceleration!

The Ticker Timer

A TICKER-TIMER can be used to study short and fast motion of small objects like a trolley or a toy car. When you switch on the ticker-timer, it makes a certain number of dots in a certain period of time. This is usually marked on the timer as its frequency. 

The frequency of most ticker-timers is 50 Hz. This means these ticker-timers can make 50 dots in one second. So when using a ticker-timer, time is a known quantity. 

The diagram below shows how ticker timers work: 

The ticker-tape obtained can also be used for describing the motion of the object. 

Worked Example 1: 

Below is a middle section of ticker-tape that recorded the motion of a trolley. 

Worked Example 2

In the ticker timer tape below, the velocity has been calculated for four time intervals. The data can be shown in a table. 

Tasks & Homework

Task 1: PESS1.2 SciPAD

Page 14 - Calculating Speed from a Distance-Time Graph

Page 15 - New Zealand Secondary Schools Rally Team


Let's make our own human body ticker timer! Click on this online metronome and set it to 240 BPM (beats per minute).

Practical - 5. Speedometer and Ticker-Timer


Access your own copy of this homework task on Microsoft Teams. 

Homework - 5. Measuring Acceleration