PhysicsLAB Lab
Home to School

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Directions. Use one of the four online "maps" to record your path as you travel either from home to school. For each street along which you travel:
  • record its name
  • its general N, S, E, W direction
You can only use NW, SE, etc ... if the road maintains its orientation for an extended distance and you estimate the angle and record the appropriate x- and y-components in their respective x,y columns.
  • the distance traveled (in miles)
  • and the time required - you may initially record minutes, but all final answers must be in hours
Compile all of your trip information into a chart similar to the one provided below.
Data. Fill in the following chart:

street name
direction traveled
N, S, E, W
distance traveled
time required
(min or hrs)
calculated average speed ______
calculated net displacement ______
Data Analysis. Determine a scale so that your trip will fill your graph paper. State in the upper left hand corner your scale: 1 square = ____ cm = ____ miles.  Then accurately graph your trip. Make sure that you label the name of each street, how far you traveled along it and place an arrow along it showing your direction of travel.
Use one color of pencil to draw your actual path (street by street). Next use a second color of pencil to draw in and label your final displacement from home to school.
Web Resources.
Expedia Maps (includes distances and times)
Yahoo Maps (traces map, distances, cumulative time)
MapQuest (traces map, distances, cumulative time)
Google Maps (includes map, distances and times)

Conclusions. Answer each of the following questions on your map.
  1. Use the same second of pencil to locate and highlight the net x and net y from home to school that you determined in your chart.
  2. Show your calculations to determine the magnitude and direction of the net displacement (in miles) between your home and school using your net x and net y results from your chart.
  3. Measure with a cm-ruler the length of your final displacement vector and convert it into miles by using your map's scale. Show this conversion on your map at the head of your final displacement vector next to Mainland's location.
  4. Show your calculations for the percent difference between your calculated displacement (conclusion #2) and your graphed displacement (conclusion #3)
  5. Show your calculations for the magnitude of your average speed (in mph) for your entire trip
  6. Show your calculations for both the magnitude and direction of your average velocity (in mph) for your entire trip
After you submit the required information in the forms below, place your data tables and maps in the one-way box to be graded.
Chart Data:

total distance traveled in miles = 

total time required in hours = 

Conclusion #5: calculated average speed in mph = 

net x-displacement in miles = 

net y-displacement in miles = 

Conclusion #2: calculated net displacement using net-x and net-y = 

Map Data:

map scale: 1 square in cm = 

map scale: 1 square in miles = 

direction to school (standard angle) = 

length of net displacement vector in cm = 

Conclusion #3: converted length of graphical net displacement vector into miles = 

Conclusion #6: the magnitude of your average velocity while traveling to school in mph = 

Conclusion #6: the direction of your average velocity to school in degrees = 


Conclusion #4: percent difference between Conclusion #2 and Conclusion #3 = 

Substitute Certification 

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Catharine H. Colwell
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