10 Engaging Games And Activities For Learning Distance And Displacement Concepts

A teacher can often find students with different levels of interest in the subject. Although physics is a fascinating subject, there will always be a set of students in the class who are apprehensive of it. The primary reason why these students are not interested in the subject is because they do not understand it well. 

Many concepts in physics, such as distance and displacement, sound similar and therefore result in confusion. As a teacher, you can revive the interest of students in the subject by blending traditional teaching with a few age-appropriate games and activities. In this write-up, we suggest a couple of games and activities that will help your students comprehend the concepts better and gain confidence in the subject.

Games and activities to practice distance and displacement concepts

1. Distance and displacement challenge

Distance and displacement challenge

In this challenging game, you are supposed to control a circular yellow object and position it accurately, depending on the answer of the question displayed on the screen. You can move the object left or right to reach the point denoting the right answer. But remember, you can use the command to move the object in either direction only once, so work out your answer before you mark it on the scale. Don’t forget to pause the object in the correct position. Else, you’ll miss out on one opportunity in the game. If you fail to mark the correct answer, you can reload and play the game again. Although the game is a bit tricky, it is a nice way to practice distance and displacement questions in this format.

2. Distance and displacement interactive 

Distance and displacement interactive 

Students in grades 7 – 8 will love this simple interactive activity to learn and evaluate their understanding. The game begins with a short introduction to the concepts of distance and displacement. We love this feature as it reinforces the learnings you have taught them in class. The next few slides have questions that kids must solve to proceed further in the game. Every correct answer is rewarded with one point. Students also get the option to check their answers and retry a question if they fail on their first attempt. A scoreboard at the end displays the score earned by a student. The game also ends with an interesting visual to help students understand the difference between the two terms. 

3. Heroic ants

Heroic ants

This online game combines learning and fun. The main character in the game is a tiny ant standing on a leaf. Students must answer the question that appears on the screen, after which they get a chance to click and throw the ant as far as possible by setting up a desired angle and trajectory. All questions in the game are related to distance and displacement. Every correct answer gives students a chance to land the ant at the farthest distance possible. The game continues for a total of ten throws. The player can also customize the gaming experience by adjusting the sound, music, and screen settings to their liking. All in all, heroic ants is an interesting game that students will love to play and enjoy.

4. Distance vs. displacement concept builder

 Distance vs. displacement concept builder

This game is divided into three levels – Apprentice level, Master level, and Wizard level. The degree of difficulty increases from apprentice to wizard level. There is no need to create an account to play this game, as students can continue as a guest and try it out. Each game level has three questions. As the game continues, students must answer the displayed questions and fill in the fields with the right answers to earn stars. A wrong answer gives another chance to the student to solve a similar question. If a student needs help brushing up on their concepts, they can also refer to a video whose link is provided on the same page. 

5. Bamboozle team game

Bamboozle team game

Bamboozle is another great game for students to play in the classroom and test their knowledge. Since it is a team game, you need to divide the class into teams. You have the option of making up to eight teams. But, in order to play the game with more than two teams, you must first sign-in on the website. Once the teams are sorted, you can begin the game. Each team can select one question at a time out of the 16 options for the other team. Once they give the answer, you can check if it is right or wrong by clicking the “check” button. Teams get 15 points for one right answer. However, no points are deducted if the answer is wrong. The team which earns the maximum number of points wins the game.

6. Distance and displacement – Learn the difference activity

Distance and displacement – Learn the difference activity

As distance and displacement appear to be similar terms, it is easy for kids to get confused between the two. To help them grasp the difference between the two terms, you can conduct this fun yet simple activity in the classroom. Let us see how to go about it.

  • Select any desk within the classroom as a starting point. Consider it to be in the North direction.
  • Designate the whiteboard as the endpoint and refer to it as the South direction.
  • Ask two students to come forward to volunteer for this activity.
  • Instruct the first student to walk from the starting point, i.e., the desk, to the whiteboard, but go to the classroom entrance in between. Tell him to count aloud the number of steps required to move from the starting point to the endpoint. 
  • Now, ask the second student to reach the blackboard in the shortest possible path from the desk, count the number of steps and state the direction of movement. 
  • Note the number of steps on the whiteboard. 

Take this chance to discuss how the two numbers express the difference between distance and displacement. The number of steps for the first student denotes the distance, i.e., the entire path taken by the student. Whereas, the steps taken by the second student denote the shortest possible path between the two points, technically known as displacement. 

7. Google maps activity

Google maps activity

Here is an interesting activity for understanding the concept of distance. Give Google Maps access to your students. Let them find directions and distance between two locations. You can choose to give the starting point and endpoint of the journey or let them select their own. Upon entering the details on Google maps, let students observe the distance between the two points and hear the direction they must head to reach the destination. 

Explain to your students how distance changes each time a different route is selected to get where they want to. By the end of the activity, kids must understand the fact that Google Maps shows distance and not displacement because it tells you how much ground the car must cover when moving from the starting point to the destination. It may not be the shortest distance between the two points which will be the displacement.  

8. Poster-making activity

Poster making activity

This activity is perfect for knowing how well your students comprehend the concepts of distance and displacement. This could be a good mid-lesson activity before you dive deeper into the subject or as a wrap-up activity in the last class for the lesson. Inform your students a few days before conducting the activity, giving them instructions on what they are expected to do on the scheduled day. Ask them to come up with interesting ways to illustrate distance and displacement on a poster. 

Allow them to be creative and express their understanding of the subject. Provide them with individual posters or ask them to bring their own to showcase their knowledge. You can designate a classroom wall to display the posters for everyone to see and appreciate. Promise a reward to the student who makes the best poster in the class to give them a bit of encouragement to work on this project. 

9. Distance and displacement outdoor activity

Distance and displacement outdoor activity

Take your students outdoors for this super fun activity. You can take them to one of the athletic fields or grounds within the school premises. Have the entire class settle down in one spot. Call for volunteers who would enact situations given by you. 

After a student enacts the question, allot some time for the rest of the students to give answers. In every situation, students must calculate the distance and displacement. Keep the numbers simple so kids can mentally find the values and strengthen their conceptual understanding of the topic. Here are some sample situations to help you get started – 

1. (Name of the student) walks 1 mile to the north. Next, he turns around and walks 3 miles south. Find the distance and displacement values. (Here, 1 mile = 5 steps).

2. Amber runs on a 200-meter track. She takes 3 laps in all. What is the distance traveled and the displacement? (Take the help of kids to make a hypothetical track and consider it 200 meters)

3. Thomas spins 4 times. He does not move and sticks to his original position. What do you think will be the distance and displacement in this scenario?

A couple more questions on these lines will be enough for an engaging lesson. Sometimes, relocating the class to a different learning environment can add excitement and level up the learning experience.

10. Fill in the blanks activity

 Fill in the blanks activity

This activity requires a little preparation on your part. Get some index cards and write down one completion question or a sentence with blanks relating to the topic on each index card. Fold the cards and put them in a jar. On the day of the activity, ask one student from the class to come forward, pick a card, and read it to the rest of the students. 

They must now suggest a suitable answer to fill in the blank in the given sentence. After students share their answers, let them know the correct answer. If students need clarity, invite someone from the class who is willing to explain it to their peers as you guide them through the activity. If you are wondering what type of sentence completion questions you can incorporate into this activity, here are a few examples – 

1. Distance is a _______quantity. While displacement is a _______quantity.

2. Displacement is a vector quantity because it has ________ and ________.

3. Distance is defined as _______.

4. Displacement must be a _______ line between the starting point and the endpoint. 

5. Distance can have only ______ value whereas displacement can have ______, ________, or _______ value. 

Wrapping up,

Topics like distance and displacement may seem tricky to some students as it is easy to get puzzled between the two. Plus, it may be even more difficult for kids with directional dyslexia as they have a tough time understanding directions. To help students overcome this challenge, teachers can leverage the power of games and activities. 

Gone are the days when the education system was reluctant to try new approaches, like experiential learning, to make learning effective. Today, teachers are willing to take a step further to help students build a strong foothold on the subject. If you have been looking for ways to disperse the confusion in your students’ minds regarding the concepts of distance and displacement, go ahead and try some of the games and activities mentioned above. Your students will thank you for giving them a fun and engaging learning experience.

Leave a Comment