Bears in the Woods


Q1: A squirrel in the woods runs 2.0 m/s to the safety of a tree, trying to escape a coyote running at 4.0 m/s. If the coyote and squirrel start running when the coyote is 30 m away, what is the maximum safe distance the squirrel can be from the tree to avoid becoming lunch? Sketch and solve.

Q2: A tourist in Yosemite runs 2.5 m/s to the safety of his car, trying to escape a grizzly bear running at 4.0 m/s. The bear starts chasing the tourist from 50m away. What is the maximum safe distance the tourist can be away from his car to escape becoming an unfortunate statistic? Sketch and solve.

Q3: Plot distance and velocity for situation #2.

Q4: Develop a general algebraic expression (a formula) for situations of this sort: one object overtaking another, each with different velocities va and vb, starting a distance s apart. Your formula needs to predict the distance d covered by the overtaken object when it is caught. Write your formula and describe it in two sentences.



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