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How to work with Terminal Velocity

If you are travelling at terminal velocity – then you are definitely travelling quickly.

There are massive differences in the speed at which different animals can move. The slowest animal is the 3 -toed sloth, their average speed is around 0.003 mph. This is so slow they can’t move more than 100 feet in one day! Starfish are not much faster – travelling at 0.02 mph.

Compare this to the fastest animals  – for example the Australian tiger beetle, the fastest insect in the world. It has recorded a speed of up 5.6mph, very fast for an insect!  Then we move to the sailfish, the fastest fish in the world, moving speeds of up to 68 mph. Even faster is the cheetah, the fastest land animal which has recorded speeds of up to 75 mph. All of these fade into insignificance though, when compared to how quickly it is thought a peregrine falcon can dive. There is no confirmed top speed, as there are so many variables such as wind speed and length of dive which could effect the final speed. However it is thought they can reach speeds of up to 200 mph!!! What a difference from the sloth!!

If you are studying GCSE Science and need some extra help with understanding terminal velocity, try our new guide “How to work with Terminal Velocity”. It explains what happens in terms of forces when you jump out of a plane. Included are questions for you to try, and answers for you to check your understanding.
Click the picture below to see the guide.

Terminal Velocity powerpoint


Come back and check our blog page for more resources to help you improve your understanding of different topics in various subjects. New Maths and Science guides will be coming soon.

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