The Vector Walk in Two Dimensions Interactive is an adjustable-size file that displays nicely on smart phones, on tablets such as the iPad, on Chromebooks, and on laptops and desktops. The size of the Interactive can be scaled to fit the device that it is displayed on. The compatibility with smart phones, iPads, other tablets, and Chromebooks makes it a perfect tool for use in a 1:1 classroom.


Teaching Ideas and Suggestions:

This Interactive is intended for use near the middle to latter stages of a learning cycle on the addition of vectors. The emphasis of the activity is on 
  1. Using the Pythagorean theorem to determine the magnitude of the resultant displacement for a multi-stage motion occuring in two dimensions.
  2. Using a trigonometric function to determine the direction of the resultant displacement, expressed as a CCW angle of rotation from due East.
The Interactive displays a person making a multi-stage motion across a labeled grid, Students use the distance for each leg of the trip to determine the overall distance. And they combine all east-west and north-south distances and use such distances to determine the displacement and the direction.

There are likely numerous strategies for using this Interactive in the classroom.  We can imagine teachers using the two-stage motions as follow-ups to a lesson on adding right angle vectors with Pythagorean theorem and trigonmetry. Asking students to solve any two of the first 8 levels would be a reasonable expectation for first day practice. Practice on subsequent days make involve asking students to do one of the three stage motions and one of the four stage motions. Each motion includes randomly generated distances so it is unlikely that two side by side students would have the same problems. Success at a level is indicated by a star next to the level on the main menu; this allows teachers to quickly check on the success of their students.

Our Vector Walk in Two Dimensions simulation is now Task Tracker compatible. Teachers with Task Tracker subscriptions for Physics Interactives can assign the activity to their students. They can customize the activity by discarding question groups and thus shorten its length. And they can view progress reports and scores of their students.


Related Resources

There are numerous resources at The Physics Classroom website that serve as very complementary supports for the Vector Walk in Two Dimensions Interactive. These include:
  • Minds On Physics Internet Modules:
    The Minds On Physics Internet Modules include a collection of interactive questioning modules that help learners assess their understanding of physics concepts and solidify those understandings by answering questions that require higher-order thinking. Assignments VP2, VP3, VP4, and VP5 of the Vectors and Projectiles module provide great complements to this Interactive. They are best used in the middle to later stages of the learning cycle. Visit the Minds On Physics Internet Modules.

  • Curriculum/Practice: Several Concept Development worksheets at the Curriculum Corner will be very useful in assisting students in cultivating their understanding, most notably ...

    Addition of Vectors
    Vector Components, Vector Resolution and Vector Addition
    Vector Addition by Components

    Visit the Curriculum Corner.

  • Labwork: 
    Simulations should always support (never replace) hands-on learning. The Laboratory section of The Physics Classroom website includes several hands-on ideas that complement this Interactive. Four notable lab ides include ...

    Map Lab
    As the Crow Flies Lab
    Where Am I? Lab
    Road Trip Lab

    Visit The Laboratory.

Additional resources and ideas for incorporating Vector Walk in Two Dimensions into an instructional unit on vectors can be found at the Teacher Toolkits section of The Physics Classroom website.  Visit Teacher Toolkits.

Visit: Interactive