If you're seeing this message, it means we're having trouble loading external resources on our website.

If you're behind a web filter, please make sure that the domains *.kastatic.org and *.kasandbox.org are unblocked.

Main content

Average velocity and speed worked example

Sal solves a word problem to find average velocity and speed of an object in one-dimension.

Want to join the conversation?

  • male robot hal style avatar for user Aaditya Pinjarkar
    After Sal calculated the average velocity and rounded it off to 2 significant digits, shouldn't the calculated value be negative 0.033 instead of simply 0.033?
    (14 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • male robot johnny style avatar for user Ha Thien An Truong
    At , I thought it was suppose to be Xf - Xi. Why did you subtract all three numbers?
    (8 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Daniel Yun
      he was trying to get the distance the pig traveled(displacement), which obtained by Xf-Xi as you said but this equation only works regarding position on a number line. He is trying to get the displacement by using the length the pig traveled, and he got the displacement correctly.
      (6 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user luckyluke00009
    I'm still confused about the difference between average velocity and average speed. Can anyone help me, please?
    (5 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • leaf blue style avatar for user Regina Litman
      Although it doesn’t help you understand the meaning behind the concept, one way I have of remembering which one applies to the one that’s a vector, displacement, and which one applies to the one that’s a scalar, distance traveled, is: Vector and velocity go together, and both start with “v”, while scalar and speed go together, and both start with “s”.
      (9 votes)
  • female robot ada style avatar for user shreya31dps
    in case of calculating average velocity , shouldn't the final position be -30m ,hence the displacement should be -30 - 20m = -50m? please explain me if i am wrong
    (7 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • male robot hal style avatar for user Aaditya Pinjarkar
      In the case you are talking about, you have taken the 20m part as the pig running in the negative direction while the question states that the pig ran to the right and rightwards has to be taken as positive. Hence the 20m will be positive and the answer will be negative 10m.
      (6 votes)
  • old spice man blue style avatar for user Alphonsus Deodatus
    He said that to one significant digit, 50/300 is approx .1. Should that not be rounded up to .2?
    (4 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • purple pi purple style avatar for user esharmaah
    Isn't the average speed equal to 55/300, not 50/300?
    (3 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • leaf red style avatar for user Ed
    I'm looking to take my first physics course. Should I take Physics or AP physics 1&2? What is the differance?
    (3 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • leafers tree style avatar for user elib
    How is rate different from speed?
    (3 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
  • mr pants teal style avatar for user Oluwadunmomi
    For the Average velocity and speed in one direction: word problems practice, I think you guys made a mistake when you had to make time the subject of the formula. In some to most of the problems, you had to make average velocity the denominator or the divisor of the problem. This is wrong. All you have to do is to divide the change in the position or delta x on both sides or make it the denominator/divisor and you get the time. Why do you do t=delta x/average velocity?
    (1 vote)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user
    • sneak peak green style avatar for user SK hirota
      well, I think Khan Academy is just showing you one way to do it. if it gets you the correct answer, than the method isn't wrong. there are many ways to solve problems, and just because you are most familiar with one way doesn't mean the other ways are wrong.
      also, I don't get what your method is. maybe you could include an equation?
      the Khan Academy method makes sense to me, since,
      Δx/Δt= xm/ym/s = xm * s/ym = x/y s.
      (3 votes)
  • duskpin sapling style avatar for user AlwaysTraid
    For acceleration, isn't it 0.17 m/s/s? Or am I getting concepts wrong...
    (2 votes)
    Default Khan Academy avatar avatar for user

Video transcript

- [Instructor] We are told a pig runs rightward 20 meters to eat a juicy apple. It then walks leftward five meters to eat a nut. Finally it walks leftward another 25 meters to eat another nut. The total time taken by the pig was 300 seconds. What was the pig's average velocity and average speed over this time? And assume rightwards is positive and leftwards is negative and round your answer to two significant digits. So, pause this video and try to work it out on your own. All right, now let's do this together and first let's just draw a diagram of what is going on. So, this is our pig. It first runs rightward 20 meters, so we could say that's a positive 20-meter displacement, so it goes plus 20 meters, ends up right over there. Then it walks leftwards five meters, so then from there it's gonna walk leftwards five meters, so we could call that a negative five-meter displacement and then finally, it walks leftward another 25 meters. So, then it walks leftward another 25 meters, so it gets right over there, so that would be a displacement of negative 25 meters to eat another nut, so it ends up right over there. Now, to figure out our average velocity, let me write it down, so our velocity average and even this is one dimensional, it is a vector, it has direction to it. We specify the direction with the sign positive being rightwards being positive and leftwards being negative. You oftentimes for one-dimensional vectors might not see an arrow there or might not see it bolded and just written like this. But our average velocity is going to be equal to, you could view it as our displacement or our change in X divided by how much time has actually lapsed and so, what is our displacement going to be? What's it? We have plus 20 meters and then we have minus five meters and then we go to the left another 25 meters, minus 25 meters and then all of that is going to over the elapsed change or change in time, all of that is over 300 seconds. So, what is this numerator going to be? This is 20 minus 30, so that's gonna be equal to negative 10, so this is equal to negative 10 meters over 300 seconds. So, the average velocity is going to be equal to negative 1/30 meters per second, the negative specifies that on average the velocity is towards the left. If you wanna specify this as a decimal with two significant digits, this is going to be, so this will approximately equal to 0.033. That would be 1/30. Now let's try to tackle average speed. So, our speed, R sometimes is used for speed, R for rate, our average speed is not going to be our displacement divided by our lapsed time, it is going to be our distance divided by our elapsed time and we'll see that these are not going to be the same thing. That's one of the points of this problem, so our distance divided by our lapsed time. So, what's our distance traveled? Well, it's gonna be the absolute value of each of these numbers, so it's gonna be 20 meters plus five meters plus 25 meters. Notice, there's a difference here. We're not subtracting the five and the 25, we're just adding all of that. We just care about the magnitudes. Divided by 300 seconds and so, this is going to be equal to 50 meters, over 300 seconds which is equal to five over 30 which is equal to 1/6 of a meter per second and if we want to write it as a decimal, let's see, six goes into one, let's put some zeros here, six goes into 10 one time, one times six is six, I can scroll down a little bit and then we subtract, we get a four, six goes into 40 six times, six times six is 36 and then we get, let me just scroll down a little bit more again and then we get another four and then we're just gonna keep getting sixes over here, so this is gonna be approximately equal to 0.1, if we want two significant digits, 17 meters per second and we are done. We figured out the average velocity and the average speed.