3.6: Domain and Range
Joseph drove from his summer home to his place of work. To avoid the road construction, Joseph decoded to travel the gravel road. After driving for 20 minutes he was 62 miles away from work and after driving for 40 minutes he was 52 miles away from work. Represent the problem on a graph and write a suitable domain and range for the situation.
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Khan Academy Domain and Range of a Function
Guidance
The domain of a relation is the set of possible values that ‘

I(integers)={−3,−2,−1,0,1,2,3,…} 
R(real numbers)={all rational and irrational numbers} .
These number systems are very important when the domain and range of a relation are described using interval notation.
A relation is said to be discrete if there are a finite number of data points on its graph. Graphs of discrete relations appear as dots. The example above in the concept content represents a discrete relation. A relation is said to be continuous if there are an infinite number of data points. The graph of a continuous relation is represented by lines.
The relation is a straight line that that begins at the point (2, 1). The straight line indicates that the relation is continuous. The straight line also indicates that all numbers are included in the domain and in the range. The domain and the range can be written in interval notation, as shown below:
Example A
Which relations are discrete? Which relations are continuous? What is the domain? What is the range?
(i)
(ii)
(iii)
(iv)
Solution:
(i) The graph appears as dots. Therefore, the relation is discrete. The domain is
(ii) The graph appears as a straight line. Therefore, the relation is continuous.
(iii) The graph appears as dots. Therefore, the relation is discrete. The domain is
(iv) The graph appears as a straight line. Therefore, the relation is continuous.
Example B
Whether a relation is discrete or continuous can often be determined without a graph. As well, the domain and range can also be determined. Let’s examine the following toothpick pattern.
Complete the table below to determine the number of toothpicks needed for the pattern.
Pattern number 
1  2  3  4  5  ... 

...  200 

Number of toothpicks 
Is the data continuous or discrete? Why?
What is the domain?
What is the range?
Solution:
Pattern number 
1  2  3  4  5  ... 

...  200 

Number of toothpicks 
7  12  17  22  27 

1002 
The number of toothpicks in any pattern number is the result of multiplying the pattern number by 5 and adding 2 to the product.
The number of toothpicks in pattern number 200 is:
The data must be discrete. The graph would be dots representing the pattern number and the number of toothpicks. It is impossible to have a pattern number or a number of toothpicks that are not natural numbers. Therefore, the points would not be joined.
The domain and range are:
If the range is written in terms of a function, then the number system to which ‘
Example C
Can you state the domain and the range of the following relation?
Solution:
The points indicated on the graph are
The domain is
Concept Problem Revisited
Joseph drove from his summer home to his place of work. To avoid the road construction, Joseph decoded to travel the gravel road. After driving for 20 minutes he was 62 miles away from work and after driving for 40 minutes he was 52 miles away from work. Represent the problem on a graph and write a suitable domain and range for the situation.
To represent the problem on a graph, plot the points (20, 62) and (40, 52). The points can be joined with a straight line since the data is continuous. The distance traveled changes continuously as the time driving changes. The
Time cannot be a negative quantity. Therefore, the smallest value for the number of minutes would have to be zero. This represents the time before Joseph began his trip. A suitable domain for this problem is
The distance from his summer home to work cannot be a negative quantity. This distance is represented on the
The domain and range often depend upon the quantities presented in the problem. In the above problem, the quantities of time and distance could not be negative. As a result, the values of the domain and the range had to be positive.
Vocabulary
 Continuous Data
 A relation is said to be continuous if there are an infinite number of data points. The graph of a continuous relation is represented by lines.
 Discrete Data
 A relation is said to be discrete if there are a finite number of data points on its graph. Graphs of discrete relations appear as dots.
 Domain

The domain of a relation is the set of possible values that ‘
x ’ may have.
 Range

The range of a relation is the set of possible values that ‘
y ’ may have.
 Coordinates

The coordinates are the ordered pair
(x,y) that represents a point on the Cartesian plane.
Guided Practice
1. Which relations are discrete? Which relations are continuous?
 (i)
 (ii)
2. State the domain and the range for each of the following relations:
 (i)
 (ii)
3. A computer salesman’s wage consists of a monthly salary of $200 plus a bonus of $100 for each computer sold.
 (a) Complete the following table of values:
Number of computers sold  0  2  5  10  18 

Wages in dollars for the month ($) 

(b) Sketch the graph to represent the monthly salary ($), against the number
(N) , of computers sold.  (c) Use the graph to write a suitable domain and range for the problem.
Answers:
1. (i) The graph clearly shows that the points are joined. Therefore the data is continuous.
 (ii) The graph shows the plotted points as dots that are not joined. Therefore the data is discrete.
2. (i) The domain represents the values of ‘

The range represents the values of ‘
y ’.R={y−3≤y≤3,y ε R} 
(ii)
D={xx ε R} 
R={y−4≤y≤4,y ε R}
3.
Number of computers sold  0  2  5  10  18 

Wages in dollars for the month ($)  $200  $400  $700  $1200  $2000 
 (c) The graph shows that the data is continuous. The number of computers sold and must be whole numbers. The wages must be natural numbers.

A suitable domain is
D={xx≥0,x ε W} 
A suitable domain is
R={yy≥200,y ε N}
Practice
For each of the following, state whether the data is discrete or continuous. Also, write the domain and the range for each graph.
Examine the following patterns. Complete the table below each pattern. Write a suitable domain and range for each pattern and tell if the data is discrete or continuous.
Number of Cubes 
1  2  3  4  5  ... 

...  200 

Number of visible faces 
Number of triangles 
1  2  3  4  5  ... 

...  100 

Number of toothpicks 
Pattern Number 
1  2  3  4  5  ... 

...'  100 

Number of dots 
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Term  Definition 

Continuous  Continuity for a point exists when the left and right sided limits match the function evaluated at that point. For a function to be continuous, the function must be continuous at every single point in an unbroken domain. 
Coordinates  The coordinates of a point represent the point's location on the Cartesian plane. Coordinates are written in ordered pairs: . 
dependent variable  The dependent variable is the output variable in an equation or function, commonly represented by or . 
Discrete  A relation is said to be discrete if there are a finite number of data points on its graph. Graphs of discrete relations appear as dots. 
domain  The domain of a function is the set of values for which the function is defined. 
Formula  A formula is a type of equation that shows the relationship between different variables. 
Function  A function is a relation where there is only one output for every input. In other words, for every value of , there is only one value for . 
independent variable  The independent variable is the input variable in an equation or function, commonly represented by . 
Integer  The integers consist of all natural numbers, their opposites, and zero. Integers are numbers in the list ..., 3, 2, 1, 0, 1, 2, 3... 
Range  The range of a function is the set of values for which the function is defined. 
Real Number  A real number is a number that can be plotted on a number line. Real numbers include all rational and irrational numbers. 
Image Attributions
Here you'll learn how to find the domain and range of a relation.