Which of the following graphs correctly shows the distances and times in the table? (A) or (B).
A table is a useful way to record data, but a graph is a more useful way to see data trends. Recall that to plot data onto a graph, we find each time value on the horizontal axis and then move upward to find the corresponding distance value on the vertical axis. For this example, we will start by adding a point at the start with a time of zero seconds and a distance of zero meters. We place this point at the origin of the graph, as shown here. Then, we’ll move along the table to the second plot point that has a time of one second and a distance of zero meters and add that to the graph. Repeat this process for the next plot point, which has a time of two seconds and a distance of zero meters, then again for the next plot point of three seconds and 10 meters, and the final plot point of four seconds and 20 meters.
We can see that the first answer choice matches the plot we made, so (A) must be the answer. It’s important to understand that there can repeatedly be the same value on the vertical axis for different values on the horizontal axis. The vertical axis represents distance, and the horizontal axis represents time. If an object does not move in some time interval, for all the values of time in that interval, the value of distance will not change.