Velocity in Math: Definition, Equation & Problems

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Terminology of Polynomial Functions

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 What Is Velocity?
  • 0:25 Speed vs. Velocity
  • 1:20 Equation For Velocity
  • 1:45 Calculating Velocity
  • 3:00 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

Velocity in math is similar to speed, with only one difference. Learn what that difference is, how to write velocity, and how to calculate velocity problems.

What Is Velocity?

Velocity is defined as the rate of travel of an object, along with its direction. Velocity tells you how fast an object is moving as well as in what direction it is moving. It is similar to speed, except that it also adds direction. So, while speed is directionless, velocity is directional speed.

Speed Vs. Velocity

Speed only gives you a number that tells you how fast you are going. Velocity, because it adds direction, tells you how fast you are changing your position. Because of this difference, if your position doesn't change even if you are moving very fast, your velocity will be zero. If you were to run in place very fast, your speed may be six mph, but your velocity would be zero because you aren't going anywhere. If you were to run backwards and forwards, always returning to your same spot, your velocity would be zero again because you didn't go anywhere.

So remember that for velocity, your position needs to change, but for speed it doesn't. You can go as fast as you can in the same spot without gaining any velocity. But if you are moving forward in a particular direction, then you would be gaining velocity. For velocity, you need to be moving somewhere; you can't be stationary.

Equation for Velocity

The equation or formula for velocity is similar to speed.

To figure out velocity, you divide the distance by the time it takes to travel that same distance, then you add your direction to it. For example, if you traveled 50 miles in 1 hour going west, then your velocity would be 50 miles/1 hour westwards, or 50 mph westwards.

Calculating Velocity

Calculating velocity is a lot like calculating speed, with the addition of taking into account the direction in which you are moving. In order to figure out velocity, your problem would have to allow you to calculate the speed along with what direction the object is moving in. Without the directional information, you can't calculate velocity.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account