How do you calculate average velocity?


Quick Answer

Calculate average velocity by finding the quotient of the displacement and the total time elapsed. For problems concerning velocity, it is important that you consider the starting and ending position, especially if they are the same. Remember that speed and velocity differ, as speed concerns the total distance covered.

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Full Answer

  1. Measure the time over which an object moves

    Measure the time over which an object moves from the starting point to the ending point.

  2. Measure the displacement

    Measure the displacement from the starting point to the ending point. These two points must be the same points as the ones used in the previous step. Keep in mind that displacement varies from total distance traveled. For example, if a circle is 10 meters around and an object travels around it with the starting and stopping position being the same, the distance traveled is 10 meters but the displacement is zero.

  3. Calculate the average velocity

    Calculate the average velocity by dividing the displacement by the time. Make sure that you include the units in the answer. For example, a displacement of 25 meters over a period of 10 seconds would be calculated as follows: 25/10 = 2.5 meters per second. If a problem gives you a starting and an ending velocity, you can take the average of the two as the average velocity.

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