1.12: Functions on a Cartesian Plane
What if you were given a table of x and y values that represented a function? How could you use those values to graph the function? After completing this Concept, you'll be able to graph functions like this in the coordinate plane.
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CK12 Foundation: 0112S Graph a Function from a Table
Guidance
We represent functions graphically by plotting points on a coordinate plane (also sometimes called the Cartesian plane). The coordinate plane is a grid formed by a horizontal number line and a vertical number line that cross at a point called the origin. The origin has this name because it is the “starting” location; every other point on the grid is described in terms of how far it is from the origin.
The horizontal number line is called the
We write the location of this point as (4, 2).
Example A
Plot the following coordinate points on the Cartesian plane.
a) (5, 3)
b) (2, 6)
c) (3, 4)
d) (5, 7)
Solution
Here are all the coordinate points on the same plot.
Notice that we move to the right for a positive
The
Graph a Function From a Table
If we know a rule or have a table of values that describes a function, we can draw a graph of the function. A table of values gives us coordinate points that we can plot on the Cartesian plane.
Example B
Graph the function that has the following table of values.
Solution
The table gives us five sets of coordinate points: (2, 6), (1, 8), (0, 10), (1, 12), and (2, 14).
To graph the function, we plot all the coordinate points. Since we are not told the domain of the function or given a realworld context, we can just assume that the domain is the set of all real numbers. To show that the function holds for all values in the domain, we connect the points with a smooth line (which, we understand, continues infinitely in both directions).
Example C
Graph the function that has the following table of values.
The table gives us five sets of coordinate points: (0, 0), (1, 1), (2, 4), (3, 9), and (4, 16).
To graph the function, we plot all the coordinate points. Since we are not told the domain of the function, we can assume that the domain is the set of all nonnegative real numbers. To show that the function holds for all values in the domain, we connect the points with a smooth curve. The curve does not make sense for negative values of the independent variable, so it stops at
Watch this video for help with the Examples above.
CK12 Foundation: Graph a Function from a Table
Vocabulary
 We represent functions graphically by plotting points on a coordinate plane (also sometimes called the Cartesian plane). The coordinate plane is a grid formed by a horizontal number line and a vertical number line that cross at a point called the origin. The horizontal number line is called the
x− axis and the vertical line is called they− axis.
 The
x− andy− axes divide the coordinate plane into four quadrants. The quadrants are numbered counterclockwise starting from the upper right, so the plotted point for (a) is in the first quadrant, (b) is in the second quadrant, (c) is in the fourth quadrant, and (d) is in the third quadrant.
Guided Practice
Graph the function that has the following table of values.
This function represents the total cost of the balloons delivered to your house. Each balloon is $3 and the store delivers if you buy a dozen balloons or more. The delivery charge is a $5 flat fee.
Solution
The table gives us five sets of coordinate points: (12, 41), (13, 44), (14, 47), (15, 50), and (16, 53).
To graph the function, we plot all the coordinate points. Since the
In order to draw a graph of a function given the function rule, we must first make a table of values to give us a set of points to plot. Choosing good values for the table is a skill you’l develop throughout this course. When you pick values, here are some of the things you should keep in mind.
 Pick only values from the domain of the function.
 If the domain is the set of real numbers or a subset of the real numbers, the graph will be a continuous curve.
 If the domain is the set of integers of a subset of the integers, the graph will be a set of points not connected by a curve.
 Picking integer values is best because it makes calculations easier, but sometimes we need to pick other values to capture all the details of the function.
 Often we start with one set of values. Then after drawing the graph, we realize that we need to pick different values and redraw the graph.
Practice
For 15, plot the coordinate points on the Cartesian plane.
 (4, 4)
 (2, 7)
 (3, 5)
 (6, 3)
 (4, 3)
 Give the coordinates for each point in this Cartesian plane.
For 710, graph the function that has the following table of values.

x−10 −5 0 510y −3−0.524.57 
Side of cube (in.)012 3Volume (in3) 01827 
Time (hours) −2−10 1 2Distance from town center (miles)50 25 02550 
x−2 −1 0 21y −400100200300800
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Cartesian Plane
The Cartesian plane is a grid formed by a horizontal number line and a vertical number line that cross at the (0, 0) point, called the origin.Coordinate Plane
The coordinate plane is a grid formed by a horizontal number line and a vertical number line that cross at the (0, 0) point, called the origin. The coordinate plane is also called a Cartesian Plane.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 .quadrant
A quadrant is onefourth of the coordinate plane. The four quadrants are numbered using Roman Numerals I, II, III, and IV, starting in the topright, and increasing counterclockwise.Image Attributions
Here you'll learn how to graph coordinate points on the Cartesian plane and a function from a table of values.