Measuring Motion

Different types of motion in physics


  • Definition: Distance traveled by an object divided by the time taken to travel that distance.
  • Measured in meters per second(m/s)
  • Formula for speed: S=d/t
  • Since objects don't usually travel at a constant speed you typically just give average speed.


  • Definition: speed of an object in a specific direction.
  • The formula for velocity is v=d/t.
  • An object's velocity is constant if the direction or speed doesn't change.
  • The velocity will change if the direction or speed changes.
  • There is also resultant velocity- the combined velocity of different objects in motion.
  • Speed and velocity are NOT the same.


  • Definition: A measure of how much the velocity changes in a certain amount of time.
  • An object accelerates if its direction,speed, or both change.
  • There is positive acceleration (increase in velocity) and negative acceleration (decrease in in velocity.)
  • The faster the change in velocity is, the great acceleration there is.


  • Definition: When a force causes an object to move in the direction that force is applied over a distance(or force) that stops the movement.
  • The formulas for work is W=Fd.
  • Work is measured in joules(J).
  • If there is no movement over a distance the is no work.
  • There is positive work- when motion and force are in the same direction and negative work- when motion and force are in opposite directions.