Lesson Plan: Vector Subtraction Physics

This lesson plan includes the objectives, prerequisites, and exclusions of the lesson teaching students how to subtract one vector from another in two dimensions using both graphical and algebraic methods.


Students will be able to

  • subtract two vectors using purely graphical methods,
  • subtract two vectors given the component forms of the vectors using 𝑖𝑗 notation,
  • understand what effect reversing the order of the operands has in a vector subtraction operation, that is, ABBA=().


Students should already be familiar with

  • what a vector is and that it represents a length and a direction,
  • the idea that vectors can be used to represent physical quantities, such as displacement and velocity,
  • how vectors can be represented graphically,
  • how to represent vectors in component form using 𝑖𝑗 notation,
  • how to convert between graphical and component form representations of vectors.


Students will not cover

  • vectors in three dimensions,
  • the scalar product of two vectors,
  • the vector product of two vectors.

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