OBP - February 2023


Forums / Physical Science / Free, Simple Way to Measure Speed

Physical Science

Free, Simple Way to Measure Speed

Author Post
Ross Winberg Ross Winberg 70 Points

Please forgive me if this is obvious to people already, but you can use any smartphone/tablet to measure both instantaneous and average speed and acceleration. 1. print off 1cm graph paper online 2. obtain your frames per second (fps) rate for the camera on your phone, e.g. my iPhone 6 has 60 fps (frames/1 sec.) 3. video the object you wish to measure 4. count the centimeter squares the object moves (squares) 5. count the number of frames this movement took (frames) 6. Do the dimensional analysis!


Lecia Schall Lecia Schall 6090 Points

That is such a great way to measure speed using an easily accessable technological tool. I wonder about how many other ways we can have our students appropriately use their phones. I have a video of an electro magnetic motor that I made that I am very proud of and show to friends.

Erin Jasso Erin Jasso 380 Points

I had no idea you could do this on a phone! Very cool! I will probably be trying this out in future lessons, thanks!

Pamela Dupre Pamela Dupre 92364 Points

Great way to incorporate those miniature computers we carry in our pockets! I use mine to do slo-mo videos of the students doing experiments so they can watch it and truly observe what was happening in that moment of excitement.

Daniel Carroll Daniel Carroll 18595 Points

Also if you have logger pro, the video analysis capability is amazing.

Jenna Bucklew Jenna Bucklew 655 Points

Wow this is excellent! Thank you for the resource. Which NGSS standard would this go with?

Cris DeWolf Cris DeWolf 11965 Points

This is a great way to incorporate students smart phones into our classes. Thank you for sharing.

Elizabeth Cooke Elizabeth Cooke 7245 Points

Thank you for sharing. I had no idea a phone could do this. With what grade would you use this activity?

George Mehler George Mehler 1440 Points

Here is another way to measure motion. Real time data collection is a great way for students to work with the process, not just the outcome of the data. This video is from a YouTube channel I have been developing called FunScienceDemos and there are hundreds of science video demonstrations for teachers, students, and parents! They all adhere to the Common Core standards and cover a wide array of topics. Check it out. Measuring Motion https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXqymrK1Whk&index=5&list=PLat8Jejmdx1vp2yUSilEEXBNEffnnLoYh Best,  Dr. George Mehler Ed.D., Temple University

Rebecca Falin Rebecca Falin 71530 Points

Another video analysis program is Tracker.  Its free and if you have access to computers, but not to Logger Pro or Vernier Video Physics, this one is good and not too difficult to use.

Cynthia Garza Cynthia Garza 1860 Points

Thank you for sharing this wonderful resource!

Alec Richardson Alec Richardson 625 Points

Looking at these videos taught me a thing or two! I am always looking for a way to integrate more technology in the classroom and stay away from the static text book. I am planning next year to do most of my instruction on line and adding these videos to the content will be a big aid for remediation and extending the learning. Thanks

David Sprinkle David Sprinkle 935 Points

This is really Cool. I have a project coming up this semester and may try to integrate this.

Eric Roth Eric Roth 3375 Points

Great ideas and videos. I teach fourth graders. We videotape quite a bit and upload to movie editing software where we can see frame by frame movement along with the time. Students have been able to compare motion times and speeds very accurately and quickly.

Nick Giese Nick Giese 1955 Points

Using mechanical cars with pieces of tape separated at various distances and measuring the time it takes to reach each tape is a pretty standard and simple way to measure speed/velocity!

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