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Gizmo of the Week: Distance-Time Graphs

Sixty years ago, on May 6, 1954, Roger Bannister became the first human to run a 4-minute mile, an achievement once thought impossible.

260DETFrustrated by finishing out of the medals at the 1952 Summer Olympics, Bannister spent the next two years focusing on the mile. Knowing his rival John Landy of Australia was also getting close, Bannister decided to run in a May 6th meet in Oxford despite blustery conditions. Using two friends to help set the pace, Bannister finished in 3:59.4 for a historic first. Bannister’s record only lasted two months, and today the world record is 3:43.13, set by Hicham El Guerrouj of Morocco in 1999.

The Distance-Time Graphs Gizmo features one or two athletes running across a track. By manipulating a distance vs. time graph of their motion, users can see how the slope of the graph relates to the speed and direction of the motion it represents.

Educators at all grade-levels find countless uses for this versatile Gizmo, from teaching basic graphing skills to exploring piecewise functions. Be sure to watch this great 3-minute video on how to use this Gizmo to support an understanding of piecewise functions often studied in Algebra II. Or, explore all of our user-submitted Lesson Materials to see ideas from other educators like you.

Happy running!