Status Report

NASA Announces a New Tool for Visualizing Distance-Rate-Time Problems

By SpaceRef Editor
July 10, 2010
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NASA has released an interactive online tool that enables students to simultaneously visualize and manipulate three linked representations of a distance-rate-time problem. The side-by-side tool format features two airplanes (each flying at a constant speed) on merging jet routes, the corresponding distance-vs.-time graphs, and the corresponding linear equations.

Students can manipulate an airplane’s speed and starting position on its route, rotate or shift the associated line on the graph, and change the parameters of the associated equation. As students change one representation, the other representations update accordingly.

The free classroom materials include the tool, student workbooks, assessments, teacher guides, and alignments to grades 5-9 mathematics standards for all 50 states.

The new tool is an addition to FlyBy Math from NASA Smart Skies — distance-rate-time investigations that engage students in the challenges faced by air traffic controllers.

To access the new tool, visit

To access all of the Smart Skies mathematics investigations, visit

Questions about the Smart Skies website and tools should be directed to

SpaceRef staff editor.