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Apply Algebraic Notation to Vectors

In this worksheet, students will learn the notation for vectors using algebra and be able to apply it when describing vectors.

'Apply Algebraic Notation to Vectors ' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

GCSE Subjects:   Maths

GCSE Boards:   AQA, Eduqas, Pearson Edexcel, OCR,

Curriculum topic:   Geometry and Measures, Congruence and Similarity

Curriculum subtopic:   Vectors Plane Vector Geometry

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

QUESTION 1 of 10


Did you know that in the 1950's Brazilian footballers invented the swerving free kick? By kicking the ball in just the right place they managed to move it around the wall of defenders and quite often into the back of the net.

The kick had direction and magnitude, the two properties required to describe vectors.


Do you think they're thinking about their maths lesson on vectors when they step up to take the free-kick?


Probably not, they just want to score!  But, they will be thinking about the direction and magnitude(force) of the ball.

Describing vectors is often done using letters.


vectors explanation


Vectors are written as small case letter and in bold.  

Vectors are shown in the direction of the arrow.

In the example above A to B = a but if you went from B to A you would be going in the opposite direction, therefore -a.


Let's have a look


In the diagram above it shows that



WY    = 2b   but YW = -2b as you would be moving in the opposite direction to b.     

MH    = 2b  + a.  Move along the horizontal first and then the vertical

RL   = -3b + a OR  a -3b                 


Look at the diagram and make some up of your own.



You can only travel by known vectors.

Let's go and get one over that wall of defenders!

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