Graphing Linear Equations is a mapping process to diagram straight lines as objects. Mathematicians often diagram using Cartesian Coordinate Systems.
A Cartesian Coordinate System provides a central point of reference for an object and between objects. Cartesian Coordinate Systems are drawn by a horizontal “x” line bisecting a “y’ line forming a 90 degree right angle. Coordinates “x” and “y” are on a single plane, a flat surface.
The slope of a straight line is a measure of steepness. Slope is described by a change in Rise, divided by a change in Run.
Slope = Rise / Run
“To graph or solve Linear Equations use the Slope-Intercept Form:
y = mx + b
Where m is the line slope, x is a coordinate value along the x axis and b is the y intercept.”
Many run and rise together look like stairs.
Rise is a distance Δy as y2 - y1, and Run is a distance Δx as x2 - x1 (Reference diagram at right).
Suppose coordinates (8, 7) and (4, 4), the slope, Δy / Δx, is:
(y2 - y1) / (x2 - x1) =
(7 - 4) / (8 - 4) =
Graph of line showing linear slope as Δy / Δx.
By plugging values of “x” into a Linear Equation gives values of “y”.
Several coordinate solutions for y = 3x + 2:
“Y” values for “x” integer values -3 thru 3.
Choose two x and y coordinate solutions. Use them as points through which to plot the line.
Graph of straight line equation y = 3x + 2 using coordinates (1, 5) and (-2, -4).
From the image directly above we already know that (1, 5) and (-2, -4) are two coordinate points of Linear Equation y = 3x + 2. But, what if we only knew the two coordinate points, not the equation? Yes, we can create the equation by applying the Slope-Intercept Form y = mx + b:
First determine the line slope…
m = (y2 - y1) / (x2 - x1) = (5 - (-4)) / (1 - (-2)) = 9 / 3 = 3
and plug the slope, m , into the Slope-Intercept Equation y = mx + b.
y = 3x + b
Next determine b, the y intercept. To do this use any coordinate along the line and plug the x and y values into the Slope-Intercept Equation (I’m going to use coordinate (1, 5) )…
5 = 3 (1) + b
5 - 3 = b
2 = b
And we can now write y = 3x + 2, the Linear Equation defined by line segment coordinate points (1, 5) and (-2, -4).
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