4.3: Graphs of Linear Equations
What if a bowling alley charged $3 for the first game and $2 for each additional game? How could you graph this functional relationship and use it to find the cost of playing 5 games? After completing this Concept, you'll be able to graph and analyze linear functions like this one.
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CK12 Foundation: 0403S Graphs of Linear Equations (H264)
Guidance
You’re stranded downtown late at night with only $8 in your pocket, and your home is 6 miles away. Two cab companies serve this area; one charges $1.20 per mile with an additional $1 fee, and the other charges $0.90 per mile with an additional $2.50 fee. Which cab will be able to get you home?
Graph a Linear Equation
At the end of Lesson 4.1 we looked at ways to graph a function from a rule. A rule is a way of writing the relationship between the two quantities we are graphing. In mathematics, we tend to use the words formula and equation to describe the rules we get when we express relationships algebraically. Interpreting and graphing these equations is an important skill that you’ll use frequently in math.
Example A
A taxi costs more the further you travel. Taxis usually charge a fee on top of the permile charge to cover hire of the vehicle. In this case, the taxi charges $3 as a set fee and $0.80 per mile traveled. Here is the equation linking the cost in dollars
Graph the equation and use your graph to estimate the cost of a sevenmile taxi ride.
Solution
We’ll start by making a table of values. We will take a few values for
First, here’s our table of values:



0  3 
1  3.8 
2  4.6 
3  5.4 
4  6.2 
And here’s our graph:
To find the cost of a sevenmile journey, first we find
A seven mile taxi ride would cost approximately $8.50 ($8.60 exactly).
Here are some things you should notice about this graph and the formula that generated it:
 The graph is a straight line (this means that the equation is linear), although the function is discrete and really just consists of a series of points.
 The graph crosses the
y− axis aty=3 (notice that there’sa+3 in the equation—that’s not a coincidence!). This is the base cost of the taxi.  Every time we move over by one square we move up by 0.8 squares (notice that that’s also the coefficient of
x in the equation). This is the rate of charge of the taxi (cost per mile).  If we move over by three squares, we move up by
3×0.8 squares.
Example B
A small business has a debt of $500,000 incurred from startup costs. It predicts that it can pay off the debt at a rate of $85,000 per year according to the following equation governing years in business
Graph the above equation and use your graph to predict when the debt will be fully paid.
Solution
First, we start with our table of values:



0  500 
1  415 
2  330 
3  245 
4  160 
Then we plot our points and draw the line that goes through them:
Notice the scale we’ve chosen here. There’s no need to include any points above
Next we need to determine how many years it takes the debt to reach zero, or in other words, what
To read the time that the debt is paid off, we simply read the point where the line hits
To see more simple examples of graphing linear equations by hand, see the Khan Academy video on graphing lines at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UrcUfBizyw. The narrator shows how to graph several linear equations, using a table of values to plot points and then connecting the points with a line.
Analyze Graphs of Linear Functions
We often use graphs to represent relationships between two linked quantities. It’s useful to be able to interpret the information that graphs convey. For example, the chart below shows a fluctuating stock price over ten weeks. You can read that the index closed the first week at about $68, and at the end of the third week it was at about $62. You may also see that in the first five weeks it lost about 20% of its value, and that it made about 20% gain between weeks seven and ten. Notice that this relationship is discrete, although the dots are connected to make the graph easier to interpret.
Analyzing graphs is a part of life  whether you are trying to decide to buy stock, figure out if your blog readership is increasing, or predict the temperature from a weather report. Many graphs are very complicated, so for now we’ll start off with some simple linear conversion graphs. Algebra starts with basic relationships and builds to more complicated tasks, like reading the graph above.
Example C
Below is a graph for converting marked prices in a downtown store into prices that include sales tax. Use the graph to determine the cost including sales tax for a $6.00 pen in the store.
To find the relevant price with tax, first find the correct pretax price on the
Draw the line
The approximate cost including tax is $6.75.
Example D
The graph for converting temperature from Fahrenheit to Celsius is shown below. Use the graph to convert the following:
a)
b)
Solution:
a) To find
b) To find
\begin{align*}0^\circ\end{align*} Celsius is equivalent to \begin{align*}32^\circ\end{align*} Fahrenheit.
Watch this video for help with the Examples above.
CK12 Foundation: Graphs of Linear Equations
Vocabulary
 Be aware that although we graph the function as a line to make it easier to interpret, the function may actually be discrete.
Guided Practice
The graph for converting temperature from Fahrenheit to Celsius is shown below. Use the graph to convert the following:
a) \begin{align*}0^\circ\end{align*} Fahrenheit to Celsius
b) \begin{align*}30^\circ\end{align*} Celsius to Fahrenheit
Solution:
a) To find \begin{align*}0^\circ\end{align*} Fahrenheit, we just look at the \begin{align*}y\end{align*}axis. (Don't forget that this axis is simply the line \begin{align*}x = 0\end{align*}.) The line hits the \begin{align*}y\end{align*}axis just below the half way point between −15 and −20.
\begin{align*}0^\circ\end{align*} Fahrenheit is approximately equivalent to \begin{align*}18^\circ\end{align*} Celsius.
b) To find \begin{align*}30^\circ\end{align*} Celsius, we look up the Celsiusaxis and draw the line \begin{align*}y = 30\end{align*} along to the function. When this horizontal line hits the function, we draw a line straight down to the Fahrenheitaxis. The line hits the axis at approximately 85.
\begin{align*}30^\circ\end{align*} Celsius is approximately equivalent to \begin{align*}85^\circ\end{align*} Fahrenheit.
Practice
For 13, make a table of values for the following equations and then graph them.
 \begin{align*}y = 2x + 7\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}y = 0.7x  4\end{align*}
 \begin{align*}y = 6  1.25x\end{align*}

“Think of a number. Multiply it by 20, divide the answer by 9, and then subtract seven from the result.”
 Make a table of values and plot the function that represents this sentence.
 If you picked 0 as your starting number, what number would you end up with?
 To end up with 12, what number would you have to start out with?
 At the airport, you can change your money from dollars into euros. The service costs $5, and for every additional dollar you get 0.7 euros.
 Make a table for this and plot the function on a graph.
 Use your graph to determine how many euros you would get if you give the office $50.
 To get 35 euros, how many dollars would you have to pay?
 The exchange rate drops so that you can only get 0.5 euros per additional dollar. Now how many dollars do you have to pay for 35 euros?
For 69, the graph below shows a conversion chart for converting between weight in kilograms and weight in pounds. Use it to convert the following measurements.
 4 kilograms into weight in pounds
 9 kilograms into weight in pounds
 12 pounds into weight in kilograms
 17 pounds into weight in kilograms
For 1012, use the graph from problems 69 to answer the following questions.
 An employee at a sporting goods store is packing 3pound weights into a box that can hold 8 kilograms. How many weights can she place in the box?
 After packing those weights, there is some extra space in the box that she wants to fill with onepound weights. How many of those can she add?
 After packing those, she realizes she misread the label and the box can actually hold 9 kilograms. How many more onepound weights can she add?
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Here you'll learn how to graph linear equations and make predictions by analyzing such graphs.