Graphing Linear Functions
A linear function is one in which the highest power of
x
is 1.
Examples:
y
= 2
x
+ 3
and
f
(
x
) = 7
x
+ 5
There are several ways to graph a line – one is usually easier than another depending on the equation.
Method 1: Use a table of values.
•
Pick a few “nice”
x
values and plugnchug to find the
y
values.
•
Create a table of values. [Can also get table values from calculator.]
Graph:
3
4
y
x
=

•
Plot the points and draw the line that passes through them.
Method 2: Use the slope and the
y
intercept
(from
y
mx
b
=
+
).
•
m
is the slope and represents
rise
up/down
run
right
=
•
b
is the
y
intercept (where it crosses the
y
axis)
Graph:
7
3
5
y
x
=

onesans
: Plot the
y
intercept.
twosans
:
From the
y
intercept, rise 7 and run 5 to plot a second point.
threesans
:
Draw the line that passes through the points.
•
To use this method, the equation must be written in the form
y
= _____.
•
If the slope is negative,
fall
then run (always run to the right to avoid confusion).
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 Fall '10
 BERTHIAUME
 Derivative, Slope, Elementary mathematics, Linear function

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