This applet is used to demonstrate some of the properties of vector cross product. Given two vectors a, b in the same plane, the cross product vector is produced. One can drag the vectors by their tip to change them. It includes a short tutorial and a list of questions about the vector cross product for students to answer.
To demonstrate some basic properties of vector cross product.
Target Student Population:
Undergraduate Multivariable Calculus students. Could be used as supplemental material for more advanced classes.
Prerequisite Knowledge or Skills:
Type of Material:
Curricular Material (Lecture/Demo or Homework Assignment) based on a Java applet (Scriptable)
Requires a "JAVA-enabled" web browser
Evaluation and Observation
Masterfully done. Very clear display of two vectors being cross-multiplied and their product. There is a tab displaying the actual angle between two vectors. The applet itself is attractive and informative. There is a button that allows user to get numerical values for magnitudes of all 3 vectors. There is an extended explanation of the user actions as well as the background material (vector cross product).
Two vectors are always shown lying in the same plane. It may be helpful to be able to turn the plane off.
Potential Effectiveness as a Teaching Tool
Includes a list of things "to see and to do". These are questions that help students understand the concept of the vector cross product. There is a paragraph explaining how to find the magnitude of the result of a vector cross product as well as the right hand rule for the direction of this vector. This Applet would be an excellent classroom demo tool (for example in a Calculus course) for introducing the cross product of vectors. Instructors can use it to illustrate textbook examples and homework assignments.
More interesting questions about the vector cross product can be explored using this excellent tool.
Ease of Use for Both Students and Faculty
Clear, easy to understand and use interface and controls for displaying the vector cross product. This is a very straightforward applet to use. The ability to see numerical info and the instructions on how to use the applet are a great benefit. The usability for students of this applet is excellent.
A simple way to print different plots might be useful.