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Distance Time Graph

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Helicopter View

A visual aid for a teacher to use in a Mathematics lesson showing how a distance time graph can be constructed from a series of photographs.

Use the small green buttons to advance the animation to the next scene, pause or rewind.

The 'photographs' of the situation which are displayed side by side promote a good understanding of the concept of a distance-time graph. They make it clear that the passage of time is shown on the horizontal axis and the distance travelled on the vertical axis.

Further class discussion might illuminate the fact that the steepness or gradient of the line graph is related to the speed of the vehicle. A positive gradient indicates a velocity away from the reference point while a negative gradient represents a velocity in the opposite direction. A gradient of zero represents the vehicle coming to rest.

In the real world a more accurate graph of the situation would be a smooth curve rather than a number of straight lines.

After viewing the animation above have a look at some other distance-time graphs for students to interpret. You could also try answering some questions in the Travel Graphs online exercise.

Curriculum Reference

See the National Curriculum page for links to related online activities and resources.

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