Albert Teen YOU ARE LEARNING:  Distance vs Displacement  # Distance vs Displacement ### Distance vs Displacement

Distance is how far you've gone. Displacement is how far you've ultimately moved.

A quick question to get started: which option best describes what distance is? 1

Which of these two cars has travelled the furthest distance? Car A or Car B?  2

Which of the two cars ended up furthest away from its starting point?  3

Now have a look at this image. Which two statements below are true?  Pick the object with the biggest displacement. True or false? Distance is how far an object has travelled in a straight line to a given destination. 1

To recap! Distance is how far an object has travelled in total, whereas displacement is how far the object ultimately ends up from its starting point.

You measure displacement in a straight line. Pick the three options that are true. Vectors and Scalars

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So distance is the total path taken of an object to get to a certain point. Do you think the direction of travel matters? 2

A scalar quantity is one which describes only the magnitude of something. A vector quantity is one which describes the magnitude and direction of something. What is distance? 3

Does direction matter for displacement? 4

What is displacement? 5

Displacement is a vector quantity which means it takes into account direction as well as magnitude.

This means that if an object has travelled backwards, the displacement will be negative.

An example

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What is the distance travelled from point A to point D?  2

What is the displacement from point A to point D?  Summary!

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Distance is a scalar quantity.

It describes total distance an object has moved. 2

Displacement is a vector quantity.

It describes how far away from its starting point the object ends up, measured in a straight line. 3

Distance is not necessarily larger than displacement.

For example, if an object simply moved 3 metres in a straight line, the object's distance and displacement would be the same (3 metres). 