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Question Video: Recognizing Unequal Velocities Science

Velocities can be represented as arrows. Which of the following represents two velocities that are unequal? [A] Option A [B] Option B [C] Option C

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Video Transcript

Velocities can be represented as arrows. Which of the following represents two velocities that are unequal? Is it option (A), (B), or (C)?

Recall that velocity is a vector quantity. And we often represent vectors using arrows, like we have here. We know that a vector is defined by its direction and also by its length, which symbolizes its magnitude.

If we measure the vector lengths with a ruler, we can see that each pair of vectors have the same length in all three cases, meaning they’re equal in magnitude. So it’s only the direction of the vectors in each pair that can make them different.

Looking at (A), we can see two vectors placed one after the other. And they’re both pointing in the same direction, so the two are equal.

Looking at (B), the vectors are more spaced out, but they’re parallel and still have the same direction as each other. So they’re equal as well.

In fact, the only difference between vectors is found in option (C), where we can see that the vectors are pointing in opposite directions. Since these two velocity vectors point in different directions, we know that they’re unequal. And therefore, the correct answer is (C).

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