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Vector Direction

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Teacher/Instructor Matt Jones
Matt Jones

M.Ed., George Washington University
Dept. chair at a high school

Matt is currently the department chair at a high school in San Francisco. In his spare time, Matt enjoys spending time outdoors with his wife and two kids.

A vector contains two types of information: a magnitude and a direction. The magnitude is the length of the vector while the direction tells us which way the vector points. Vector direction can be given in various forms, but is most commonly denoted in degrees. Acceleration and velocity are examples of vectors.

Vectors, Vectors are any unit that have both magnitude and direction. Well magnitude that's just an amount that could be anything mass, density, volume et cetera but direction that's pretty specific right you've got to be doing you know east or north or west or someone else could talk about angles 90 degrees, 0 degrees 7, 270 degrees.

So let's look at some examples of vectors. Both acceleration and velocity are often used as vectors, so here's a vector and let's say this vector is 20 meters per second okay? Well again that's the magnitude but the direction is east okay? Or I might have the same vector going in the north direction 20 meters per second north or 20 meters per second west okay or south. Another way we can depict this is if we're not talking about direction we might be talking about angles, so if we're heading along the x axis we're going to call that 0 degrees okay and then going clockwi- I'm sorry counter clockwise, we're going to be going up to where, what would be the y axis would be 20 meters per second at 90 degrees okay, where it would be going in the westerly direction where we would say it's 180 okay and then going in the downward direction would be 270 degrees.

So these are some of the ways that we depict vectors, they have both magnitude and direction.