## Calculating speeds

Teaching Guidance for 11-14

#### Using formulae

**Thinking about the learning**

Expressing a relationship in a form such as:

*s* = *d**t*

(where: *s* represents speed; *d* represents distance covered during trip; *t* represents trip time or duration of trip) is a familiar skill for those of us steeped in an education in science. However, for many learners such a formula is as remote as a piece of ancient Egyptian tomb writing. Using symbols rather than words presents a hurdle for many. This along with a lack of confidence in mathematical skills, which is evident in so many pupils, often results in an I can't do this

cry of resignation.

**Thinking about the teaching**

The key approach here is to demystify the science by keeping the examples simple and by offering lots of positive encouragement through a celebration of success. It is a good idea to use words rather than symbols in the first instance. Give plenty of examples and keep the numbers simple. This will give learners a sense of achievement.

So, more like:

speed = distancetime

Or, perhaps, more helpfully:

speed = distanceduration