Parallel vectors

Home learning focus

Learn about and understand parallel vectors.

This lesson includes:

  • a learning summary
  • one activity sheet

Learn

Students looking to achieve grade 4 in GCSE Maths must be able to understand and recognise parallel vectors.

Read pages 1 and 2 of our 'Transformation' Bitesize revision guide to:

Revise - parallel vectors

Vectors

A vector describes a movement from one point to another. A vector quantity has both direction and magnitude. The vector can also be represented by a column matrix; this is referred to as a column vector.

A vector can be represented by a line segment labelled with an arrow.

A vector between two points, A and B, can be described in three ways, using:

  • an arrow
  • bold font
  • an underscore.

The vector can also be represented by a column matrix; this is referred to as a column vector.

Parallel vectors

When vectors are parallel, one of the vectors is a multiple of the other. The multiplier is called a scalar.

A scalar is a quality that requires only a size, for example, distance travelled is 20 m. A scalar is just a number. If the scalar is negative, the vector will be in the opposite direction. The scalar can be a fraction, this means the vector will be smaller.

These vectors are all parallel. Note the direction does not matter as long one vector is a multiple of the other.

So, to work out if one vector is parallel to another, you need to find out whether one vector is a multiple of the other.

Some examples of parallel vectors are listed below:

Practise

Activity 1

Parallel vectors

Complete the activity sheet from White Rose Maths on parallel vectors to test your knowledge. You can print it out or write your answers on a piece of paper.

Parallel vectors

Click here for the answer sheet.

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