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The Distance Between Two Points - Star Trek

Keywords: Kinesthetic, Class Activity, Coordinate Systems, Dot Product, Vector Addition


Highlights of the activity

  1. This kinesthetic activity is designed to introduce students to the geometric meaning of $|\Vec r - \Vec r'|$.
  2. Two students are asked to assume the roles of Kirk and Spock while the rest of the class must find a way to geometrically calculate the distance between the two Enterprise officers.
  3. The whole class discussion focuses on what the geometric meaning of $|\Vec r - \Vec r'|$ and why it is essential to have an agreed upon origin.

Reasons to spend class time on the activity

Students have a ton of trouble understanding the geometry of $|\Vec r - \Vec r'|$. We use this activity to help them think through the meaning. It's also a wonderful activity for breaking down barriers about what students believe about what will be happening in the classroom.


Instructor's Guide

Authors: Corinne Manogue
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