Speed – The rate of change of distance.
Velocity – The rate of change of displacement.
Acceleration – The rate of change of velocity per unit of time.
Sounds confusing, right?
One of the best characteristics of a good teacher is to make difficult things easier for students. The above definitions reflect how these three physics concepts are related to each other. It is quite possible that students new to these concepts may get confused and find it challenging to grasp the minute differences between them. So, how can you, as a teacher, make things interesting and uncomplicated for your students? Using innovative and engaging techniques such as games and activities can help students build a solid foundation of these physics concepts.
Fun games and activities to learn speed, velocity, and acceleration
1. The Sorting Game
The first game on our list is a sorting game related to speed, velocity, and acceleration. The game begins when a card is displayed on the screen. The player must read the question and drag and drop the card to the vortex that best fits the question. If the answer is correct, the card gets pulled into the vortex. If it doesn’t, it means the player is on the wrong track and must try another vortex. As this is a time-bound game, the level of excitement and engagement is high. Students can also enter their names at the end of the game for their scores to be displayed on the leaderboard.
2. Matching Quiz by Purpose Games
Here is another game that requires swift thinking. The player gets only eight minutes and nine turns to finish the challenge. The screen is divided into two columns, and both columns have information pertaining to speed, velocity, and acceleration. The player must match items in the two columns. With every right answer, the player earns one point. While no points are deducted for a wrong answer, it is recorded on the scoreboard. Besides testing conceptual knowledge on the subject, this game also promotes critical thinking and problem-solving.
3. Snow Fight
Snow fight is a game on physics, yet it is a little different from other games in this genre because it also has a gaming element to it. Players must answer questions, and get them right, to get a chance to crush snowballs thrown on them by a little animated boy. The more you crush snowballs, the higher your scores will be. Players also lose a life if they get hit by a snowball and fail to save themselves. The game encourages students to give correct answers. Every wrong answer is followed by another question. Without giving the correct answer, one cannot proceed in the game and get a chance to crush balls.
4. Jeopardy-style Game
Factile brings you a game that tests students on different parameters of speed, velocity, and acceleration. These include formulas, definitions, examples, and more. The game allows you to create up to five teams without signing in. Teams can select the question for one another, or you can go sequentially, beginning from the $100 question to the $500 question. Teams get only thirty seconds to give their answer. If it is correct, those many dollars are added to their scoreboard. The team with the maximum money in their account wins the game!
5. Examples of Acceleration
The first step in this activity requires you to talk about what it means when we say an object has changed its speed and direction. Building up on that, discuss acceleration and how it involves a change in speed, direction, or both for a moving object. Once your students are clear on the subject, give them some time to think of examples of acceleration and jot them down in their notebooks.
Examples like “a train coming to a halt” or “an airplane slowing down at 5 m/s2” will suffice. When they are done, they can read out their examples, and the entire class can respond if they think the example is correct or wrong. Whatever the case, you can always help them and give them input as and when needed.
6. Find the Velocity
This activity gives students hands-on experience on how they can calculate velocity. All they need is a measuring tape, a stopwatch, and a paper airplane. Ask your students to make a few paper airplanes. Assign the task of noting down distance and time to one of the students. Now, one by one, each student can come forward and fly the airplane. They must start the stopwatch as they release the airplane into the air and stop it when it lands on the ground.
Next, with the help of a measuring tape, they must measure the distance from the starting point to the point where the airplane landed. When all students have taken turns, ask them to calculate the velocity of their airplane. In the end, review the concepts and discuss the parameters causing variations in velocity.
7. The Speed Challenge
Take the lesson outdoors for a day and have your students enjoy a round of lemon in a spoon race. Turn this game into an activity teaching about speed to your students. Mark the starting and end point and let every student complete the marked distance. Measure the time taken by each student to complete the entire path.
The students will now have the values of distance traveled and the time taken to reach the finish line. As we all know, speed = distance/ time, ask the kids to calculate their speed and observe how fast the winner was, compared to other students. Through this activity, students will learn how variations in distance and time can alter the speed of an object.
8. Speed, Velocity, or Acceleration
Prepare a list of, say, 15 – 20 scenarios and put them in the form of a presentation. You can include scenarios such as –
- Walking to the grocery store a mile down south.
- Playing on a merry-go-round.
- Slowing down when you see a speed breaker ahead, and so on.
Write one scenario on each slide and keep it ready with you. Here is how you will go about the activity –
- Give three colored cards to every student in the class. Let’s say green, yellow, and red.
- Let green denote speed, yellow denote velocity, and red denote acceleration.
- Begin the presentation, one slide at a time, and let students identify the category in which a particular scenario belongs.
- Students can display a card to share which category they think the scenario belongs to.
- Observe your students’ answers and explain them accordingly to build their understanding.
- Repeat the activity with all the scenarios you have prepared to give your students good practice on questions related to speed, velocity, and acceleration.
Topics like speed, velocity, and acceleration can confuse students if not explained well. Teachers can use different study approaches to address this problem. Kids always look forward to games and activities as they are fun, exciting, and challenging. They are a great way to change the monotonous learning atmosphere and bring something new to the table. Try the ideas we have shared in this write-up. Your students will undoubtedly enjoy them while firming their speed, velocity, and acceleration concepts.
Number Dyslexia strives to bring the best resources to teachers, parents, and students. We have games and activities on varied topics such as metric conversions, algebraic expressions, working memory, organizational skills, and many more. Check them out too!