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What integer represents the distance the snail traveled from its original position?

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1 Answer

Hi Alicia - I think that your word problem may suffer from poor wording.
 
    DISTANCE deals with the actual path taken - direction does not matter. For example, if you drive your car 3 miles north, then 6 miles east, you have driven a total DISTANCE of 9 miles.  By the wording of the problem given, the answer should be 9 inches.
 
    However, if we are concerned with calculating DISPLACEMENT, we are only concerned with the overall change in position from start to finish.
 
  In this case, we want to construct a triangle showing the path taken, and calculate the distance between the start and end points.
 
  _ _ _6_ _ _
  |
3|
  |
 
 
    For a right triangle, we can calculate the "displacement" (hypotenuse) using the Pythagorean Theorem: a2 + b2 = c2
 
    So the overall displacement (hypotenuse) = √(32+62)
 
    Displacement = √(45)
 
                        = √(9) * √(5)
 
                        = 3 √(5)

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