Education Technology

Resolving Vectors

Published on 07/17/2010

Activity Overview

Students observe the relationship between a vector and its x- and y-components.

Key Steps

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    Students learn how to resolve a vector into perpendicular components. They first examine a vector that has been resolved into horizontal and vertical components.

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    Then, they use the angle measurement tool to measure the angle between the vector v and the horizontal vector (vx). They then derive equations for the lengths of the horizontal and vertical vectors as a function of the angle.

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    Next, students construct horizontal and vertical component vectors of a vector t. They use the length measurement tool to confirm the equation they derived at the beginning of the activity.

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    Finally, students explore perpendicular component vectors that are not horizontal and vertical. They study a simulation of a box resting on an inclined plane. Then, they construct the components of the box's weight vector that are parallel and perpendicular to the inclined plane.