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5.2 Understanding Distance, Speed, and Time

Math Content:

This two-part e-example uses two runners with variable starting points and speeds in order to find the relationship between time and distance. Use the puzzle mode to manipulate speed in order to follow the pace of a fellow runner.

Each runner has a stat board underneath their icon. Here, you can change:

  1. Their starting position
  2. Their running pace
  3. The direction of their run

Once the desired specs have been modified, click the play button. You will be able to pause or reset the runners.


  • Set the starting position and length of stride for both runners. Run the simulation. Now write a story that describes the trip. For example, "The girl is going really fast. She catches up to and passes the boy, who is going slow," or "The girl started way behind the boy, who was already halfway to the tree by the time she got going. She went really fast and caught up to him more and more. Finally, at 75 she passed him and kept going really fast and got to the tree first."
  • Three motion stories are told below. Before the students use the simulation, have them physically simulate the motion stories (with their bodies). Then develop specific instructions (starting position and length of stride for each runner) to produce the action in the stories. Try out the instructions using the computer simulation above.
  • Motion Story 1. The boy and girl start from the same position. The girl gets to the tree ahead of the boy.
  • Motion Story 2. The boy starts behind the girl. The boy gets to the tree before the girl.
  • Motion Story 3. The boy starts at the tree and the girl starts at the house. The boy gets to the house before the girl gets to the tree.