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Before you get started, take this readiness quiz.
One formula you will use often in algebra and in everyday life is the formula for distance traveled by an object moving at a constant rate. Rate is an equivalent word for “speed.” The basic idea of rate may already familiar to you. Do you know what distance you travel if you drive at a steady rate of 60 miles per hour for 2 hours? (This might happen if you use your car’s cruise control while driving on the highway.) If you said 120 miles, you already know how to use this formula!
For an object moving at a uniform (constant) rate, the distance traveled, the elapsed time, and the rate are related by the formula:
We will use the Strategy for Solving Applications that we used earlier in this chapter. When our problem requires a formula, we change Step 4. In place of writing a sentence, we write the appropriate formula. We write the revised steps here for reference.
You may want to create a mini-chart to summarize the information in the problem. See the chart in this first example.
Jamal rides his bike at a uniform rate of 12 miles per hour for $3\frac{1}{2}$ hours. What distance has he traveled?
Step 1. Read the problem. | |
Step 2. Identify what you are looking for. | distance traveled |
Step 3. Name. Choose a variable to represent it. | Let d = distance. |
Step 4. Translate: Write the appropriate formula. | $d=rt$ |
Substitute in the given information. | $d=12\xb73\frac{1}{2}$ |
Step 5. Solve the equation. | $d=42$ miles |
Step 6. Check | |
Does 42 miles make sense? | |
Jamal rides: | |
Step 7. Answer the question with a complete sentence. | Jamal rode 42 miles. |
Lindsay drove for $5\frac{1}{2}$ hours at 60 miles per hour. How much distance did she travel?
330 miles
Trinh walked for $2\frac{1}{3}$ hours at 3 miles per hour. How far did she walk?
7 miles
Rey is planning to drive from his house in San Diego to visit his grandmother in Sacramento, a distance of 520 miles. If he can drive at a steady rate of 65 miles per hour, how many hours will the trip take?
Step 1. Read the problem. | ||
Step 2. Identify what you are looking for. | How many hours (time) | |
Step 3. Name.
Choose a variable to represent it. |
Let t = time. | |
Step 4. Translate.
Write the appropriate formula. |
$\phantom{\rule{1em}{0ex}}d=rt$ | |
Substitute in the given information. | $520=65t$ | |
Step 5. Solve the equation. | $\phantom{\rule{1.2em}{0ex}}t=8$ | |
Step 6. Check. Substitute the numbers into
the formula and make sure the result is a true statement. |
||
$\begin{array}{ccc}\hfill d& =\hfill & rt\hfill \\ \hfill 520& \stackrel{?}{=}\hfill & 65\xb78\hfill \\ \hfill 520& =\hfill & 520\u2713\hfill \end{array}$ | ||
Step 7. Answer the question with a complete sentence. Rey’s trip will take 8 hours. |
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