3.5: Graphs of Linear Functions from Intercepts
What are the intercepts of ? How could you use the intercepts to quickly graph the function?
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Khan Academy X and Y Intercepts
Guidance
To graph a linear function, you need to plot only two points. These points can then be lined up with a straight edge and joined to graph the straight line. While any two points can be used to graph a linear function, two points in particular that can be used are the -intercept and the -intercept. Graphing a linear function by plotting the and intercepts is often referred to as the intercept method.
The -intercept is where the graph crosses the -axis. Its coordinates are . Because all -intercepts have a -coordinate equal to 0, you can find an -intercept by substituting 0 for in the equation and solving for .
The -intercept is where the graph crosses the -axis. Its coordinates are . Because all -intercepts have a -coordinate equal to 0, you can find an -intercept by substituting 0 for in the equation and solving for .
Example A
Identify the and -intercepts for each line.
(a)
(b)
Solution:
(a)
(b)
Example B
Use the intercept method to graph .
Solution:
Example C
Use the and -intercepts of the graph to identify the linear function that matches the graph.
a)
b)
c)
The -intercept is (–8, 0) and the -intercept is (0, 4).
Solution: Find the and intercepts for each equation and see which matches the graph.
a) intercept:
- intercept:
b) intercept:
- intercept:
c) intercept:
- intercept:
The and intercepts match for so this is the equation of the line.
Concept Problem Revisited
The linear function can be graphed by using the intercept method.
Plot the -intercept on the -axis and the -intercept on the -axis. Join the two points with a straight line.
Guided Practice
1. Identify the and -intercepts of the following linear functions:
- (i)
- (ii)
2. Use the intercept method to graph the following relation:
- (i)
3. Use the and -intercepts of the graph, to match the graph to its function.
- (i)
- (ii)
- (iii)
Answers:
1. (i)
If you prefer to have both variables on the same side of the equation, this form may also be used. The choice is your preference.
(ii)
2.
3. Identify the and -intercepts from the graph.
The -intercept is (3, 0)
The -intercept is (0, -4)
Determine the and -intercept for each of the functions. If the intercepts match those of the graph, then the linear function will be the one that matches the graph.
(i)
is not the linear function for the graph.
(ii)
is the linear function for the graph.
(iii)
is not the linear function for the graph.
Explore More
For 1-10, complete the following table:
Function | -intercept | -intercept |
---|---|---|
1. | 2. | |
3. | 4. | |
5. | 6. | |
7. | 8. | |
9. | 10. |
Use the intercept method to graph each of the linear functions in the above table.
Use the and -intercepts to match each graph to its function.
- a.
- b.
- c.
- d.
- .
- .
- .
- .
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Description
Learning Objectives
Here you will learn how to graph a linear function by first finding the and intercepts.