From Here to There - Applications of the Distance Formula
Recommended for High School.
Many problems in applied mathematics involve finding the distance between points. If we know the coordinates of a pair of points (x1, y1) and (x2, y2), it is easy to find the distance between them by using the distance formula, which is a restatement of the Pythagorean Theorem.
In this activity you will use a pair of Motion Detectors. They will record the Cartesian x, y coordinates of a rod moving in a star-shaped pattern. The data collected by the detectors will be used to test the distance formula.
Record the x- and y-coordinates of a rod moving in a star pattern.
Use the recorded coordinates to calculate the distances moved between the vertices of the star.
Compare the calculated distances with direct measurement on the star pattern.
Sensors and Equipment
This activity features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.