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# MATHEMATICIAN DATE BAND

BUG PATHS
PRECALCULUS | PACKER COLLEGIATE INSTITUTE

1. Consider the square shown on the right. Imagine a bug starting at 2
the point (1, 0) when t = 0 seconds, walking counterclockwise
around the square at a rate of one unit per second.
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Let W be a function that gives the coordinates of the bug at time t.
We interpret negative values of t as being moments in time before the
start of the experiment.
-2 2
(a) Where is the bug when t = 2?

-1

(b) When is the bug at (-1, -1)?
-2

(c) Where is the bug when t = 4.5?

(d) When is the bug at (0.5, -1)?

(e) Fill in the table showing the position of the bug at a particular time.

Time (s) 0 0.5 1 1.5 2 2.5 3 3.5 4

Position

Time (s) 4.5 5 5.5 6 6.5 7 7.5 8

Position

(f) So far we havent talked about the function W, but weve been sort of thinking about it inadvertently. What
are the domain and range of W? Careful think carefully about what the input is to the function, and what the
output is of the function

What is the domain of W? What is the range of W?

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(g) On the two graphs below, create a graph showing the x-coordinate of the bug as a function of t, and a graph
showing the y-coordinate as a function of t. Make sure to label your axes.

2
(h) Lets name the function that gives the x-coordinate of the bug as a function of t. Lets call it A(t).
Lets also name the function that gives the y-coordinate of the bug as a function of t. Lets call it B(t).

Write down all of your observations about the graphs of A(t) and B(t) below. What about them is similar? What
about them is different? What characterizes the graphs? Write anything and everything down! You should come
up with a list of 6-8 observations/notes! Feel free to use words like domain and range if that helps you. If you
had to use adjectives to describe them to someone who cant see the graphs themselves, what adjectives would
you use?

2. Now answer some similar questions for the path on the right. 2
Assume again that the bug starts at (1, 0) when t=0 and walks
counterclockwise around the square at a rate of one unit per
second. 1

-2 2

-1

-2

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(a) First, youre going to make a prediction. Without being detailed (no numbers or tickmarks on the graph),
sketch a graph of the x-coordinate of the bugs position versus time on the axes below. Dont worry about being
exact just see if you can logically suss out the general shape. Soon youre going to generate a proper graph so
its totally okay if youre off. I just want you to take a stab at thinking about this bugs path first!

Take another stab at this, but this time for the y-coordinate!

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Now were going to get more exact and see if your prediction was totally off, or pretty on the nose!

(b) When is the bug at the point (0,1)? 2

1
(c) When is the bug at the point (0,-1)?

-2 2

(d) When is the bug at the point (0.5, 0.5)?
-1

-2
(e) When is the bug at the point (0.5, -0.5)?

(f) Where exactly is the bug at t=1?

(g) Like before, let W be a function that gives the coordinates of the bug at time t. We interpret negative value
of t as being moments in time before the start of the experiment.

Make a table showing values of W as a function of t until you see a clear pattern.

Hint: Think carefully about the values of t that will make finding W(t) easiest. If you use those values of t in your
table, youre life will be so much easier!

t

W(t)

What is the domain of W? What is the range of W?

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(h) On the two graphs below, create a graph showing the x-coordinate of the bug as a function of t, and a graph
showing the y-coordinate as a function of t. Make sure to label your axes. Also note that the horizontal axis
doesnt have numbers. You need to fill these numbers in. Choose those numbers wisely!

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(i) Lets name the function that gives the x-coordinate of the bug as a function of t. Lets call it C(t).
Lets also name the function that gives the y-coordinate of the bug as a function of t. Lets call it D(t).

Write down all of your observations about the graphs of C(t) and D(t) below. How are the graphs similar to A(t)
and B(t)? How are they different? How do the different paths that the bugs walk explain these similarities and
differences?

3. Now answer some similar questions for the path below, which is an equilateral triangle. Assume again that the
bug starts at (1, 0) when t=0 and walks counterclockwise around the triangle at a rate of one unit per second.
2

-2 2

-1

-2

(a) Like you did before, make a prediction.
Make a quick sketch of the x-coordinate of
the bug versus time, and a quick sketch of
the y-coordinate of the bug versus time.

Again, this is just prediction! Dont worry
about being exact, and its totally find if
you are wrong. I just want to see you
reason through the general shape of the
graphs.
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2
(b) Where is the bug when it is halfway through with walking around
the equilateral triangle?

1

-2 2

(c) We know the bug starts out at a vertex of the equilateral
triangle, at the point (1,0). Find the exact coordinates of the second -1
vertex of the equilateral triangle that the bug comes to while
walking. And then find the exact coordinates for the third vertex!
-2

(d) When does the bug reach the second vertex? When does the bug reach the third vertex?

(e) When is the bug halfway around the triangle?

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(f) Like before, let W be a function that gives the coordinates of the bug at time t. We interpret negative value
of t as being moments in time before the start of the experiment. Make a table showing values of W as a function
of t until you see a clear pattern.

Hint: Think carefully about the values of t that will make finding W(t) easiest. If you use those values of t in your
table, youre life will be so much easier!

t

W(t)

What is the domain of W? What is the range of W?

(g) On the two graphs below, create a graph showing the x-coordinate of the bug as a function of t, and a graph
showing the y-coordinate as a function of t. Make sure to label your axes. Also note that both axes dont have
numbers. You need to fill these numbers in. Choose those numbers wisely!

(h) Lets name the function that gives the x-coordinate of the bug as a function of t. Lets call it E(t).
Lets also name the function that gives the y-coordinate of the bug as a function of t. Lets call it F(t).

Write down all of your observations about the graphs of E(t) and F(t) below.

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