Calculating Acceleration Practice

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Students will be able to practice calculating acceleration before they gather the data in a lab setting.

Big Idea

Your students will be much more engaged completing a 'calculating acceleration' worksheet if it is a 'foldable'.

NGSS Background

MS-PS2 Motion and Stability: Forces and Interactions

PE: MS-PS2-2 - Plan an investigation to provide evidence that the change in an object's motion depends on the sum of the forces on the object and the mass of the object.

DCI: PS2.A: Forces and Motion: All positions of objects and the directions of forces and motions must be described in an arbitrary choose reference frame and arbitrary chosen units of size. In order to share information with other people, these choices must also be shared.

Science and Engineering Practices 3: Planning and Carrying Out Investigations - Collect data about the performance of a proposed object, tool, process or system under a range of conditions.

Crosscutting Concept 4Systems and System Models - Create a small-scale artificial system isolating variables (distance and time) to calculate real-world measurements, such as velocity and acceleration.

The order of instruction is as follows:

  1. Car and Ramp - Student Practice
  2. Calculating Velocity Practice
  3. Car and Ramp - Calculating Velocity
  4. Calculating Acceleration Practice
  5. Car and Ramp - Calculating Acceleration

Student Activity

30 minutes

On the surface this activity is a standard worksheet of acceleration word problems set to accompany and support Car and Ramp - Calculating Acceleration. The difference is that this worksheet is planned as a foldable which has the ability to increase engagement and interest with your students.

To build this foldable:

  1. Print out and pass out Acceleration Word Problems. It is a two page worksheet and will form the basis of the foldable.
  2. Fold each page of the worksheet into quarters.
  3. Title a page in your student's Science Notebook 'Acceleration Word Problems'. 
  4. Glue the quarter sheets into the notebook lengthwise.
  5. On one of the quarter sheets have your students write 'Acceleration Formula' and include the actual formula on the other.
  6. On one of the half sheets have your students write the steps to follow in order to solve an acceleration problem, see Steps to Follow.
  7. On the other half sheet include an example problem, with the included steps.
  8. Work the first three problems with your students and give them time in class to solve the last five problems. 

Steps to Follow

  1. Underline the starting speed, ending speed, and time.
  2. Write the formula.
  3. Plug in the numbers.
  4. Solve.
  5. Label and circle your answer.


A car travels from 0 mph to 50 mph in 5 seconds. What is the car's acceleration?


Acceleration formula