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Published byMara Bettis Modified about 1 year ago

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Distance Time Graphs Understanding and interpreting

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What should I do? READ the black writing WRITE the red writing

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Distance Time Graphs Describing a journey made by an object is not exciting if you just use words. As with much of science, graphs are more revealing. Plotting distance against time can tell you a lot about a journey. Let's look at the axes: Time always runs horizontally (the x-axis). The arrow shows the direction of time. The further to the right, the longer time from the start. Distance runs vertically (the y-axis). The higher up the graph we go, the further we are from the start.

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Not moving? This is what it looks like… If something is not moving, a horizontal line is drawn on a distance-time graph. *Draw this graph Time is increasing to the right, but its distance does not change. It is stationary.

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Moving…. If something is moving at a constant speed, it means we expect the same increase in distance in a given time: *Draw this graph Time is increasing to the right, and distance is increasing steadily with time. It moves at a steady speed.

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Can you describe what is going on here? For the first part of the journey shown by the graph below, the object moved at a constant (slow) speed. It then suddenly increased its speed, covering a much larger distance in the same time. This sort of motion is not very realistic, but is easy to understand. It also makes calculations easier!

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What is the effect of line ‘Steepness’, A.K.A slope… Both the lines below show that each object moved the same distance, but the steeper yellow line got there before the other one: *Draw this graph A steeper slope indicates a larger distance moved in a given time. In other words, higher speed. Both lines are of constant slope, so both speeds are constant.

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There are three parts to the journey shown below: *Draw this graph Moving at a steady speed, slowly Not moving for quite some time Moving again, but at higher speed In all the graphs so far, we have not seen any numbers - it's about time we did!

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Finding speed from these types of graphs! We can see that the motion shown by the yellow line is fastest. By definition, speed = distance / time so the steepness (or slope) of the line will give us the speed! Yellow: speed = distance / time = 30 m / 10 s = 3 m/s Blue: speed = distance / time = 20 m / 20 s = 1 m/s

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Calculate the speeds of different sections within a graph Stage 1: speed = distance / time = 100 m / 10 s = 10 m/s Stage 2: speed = distance / time = 50 m / 10 s = 5 m/s Stage 3: speed = distance / time = 150 m / 20 s = 7·5 m/s

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