# 3.8: Graphing the Quadratic Function y = x²

Difficulty Level: At Grade Created by: CK-12

## The Graph of y = x²

Introduction

In this lesson you will learn about the base function \begin{align*}y=x^2\end{align*}. You will learn to complete a table of values for the quadratic function \begin{align*}y=x^2\end{align*}. When the table of values has been completed, you will then plot the points on a Cartesian grid. This image of the basic quadratic function is called a parabola. You will then explore the characteristics of the parabola from the graph. Finally, you will apply your knowledge of domain and range to the parabola.

Objectives

The lesson objectives for Graphing the Quadratic Function \begin{align*}y=x^2\end{align*} are:

• Completing a table of values for \begin{align*}y=x^2\end{align*}.
• Plotting the points on a Cartesian grid.
• Understanding the vertex, axis of symmetry, minimum and maximum values of the graph and the way the image opens.
• Writing a suitable domain and range for the graph.

Introduction

Until now you have been dealing with linear functions. The highest exponent of the independent variable has been one and the graphs have been straight lines. Now you will be learning about quadratic functions. A quadratic function is one of the form \begin{align*}y=ax^2+bx+c\end{align*} where \begin{align*}a, b\end{align*} and \begin{align*}c\end{align*} are real numbers and \begin{align*}a \ne 0\end{align*}. The highest exponent of the independent variable is two. To classify a function as quadratic, you must have an ‘\begin{align*}x\end{align*}’ squared term. The graph of a quadratic function is a smooth curve. You will become familiar with the graph as you proceed with the concept.

Watch This

Guidance

A graph can be created by plotting the coordinates or points from a table of values. The basic quadratic function is \begin{align*}y=x^2\end{align*} and the domain for the base table of values is \begin{align*}\{x|-3 \le x \le 3, x \ \varepsilon \ R\}\end{align*}.

Example A

For the base quadratic function \begin{align*}y=x^2\end{align*}, complete the base table of values such that \begin{align*}\{x|-3 \le x \le 3, x \ \varepsilon \ R\}\end{align*}.

To complete the table of values, substitute the given \begin{align*}x-\end{align*}values into the function \begin{align*}y=x^2\end{align*}. If you are using a calculator, insert all numbers, especially negative numbers, inside parenthesis before squaring them. The operation that needs to be done is \begin{align*}(-3)(-3)\end{align*} NOT \begin{align*}-(3)(3)\end{align*}.

\begin{align*}y&=x^2 && y=x^2 && y=x^2 && y=x^2\\ y&=(-3)^2 && y=(-2)^2 && y=(-1)^2 && y=(0)^2\\ y&={\color{red}9} && y={\color{red}4} && y={\color{red}1} && y={\color{red}0}\\ \\ y&=x^2 && y=x^2 && y=x^2\\ y&=(1)^2 && y=(2)^2 && y=(3)^2\\ y&={\color{red}1} && y={\color{red}4} && y={\color{red}9}\\\end{align*}

\begin{align*}X\end{align*} \begin{align*}Y\end{align*}
\begin{align*}-3\end{align*} \begin{align*}{\color{red}9}\end{align*}
\begin{align*}-2\end{align*} \begin{align*}{\color{red}4}\end{align*}
\begin{align*}-1\end{align*} \begin{align*}{\color{red}1}\end{align*}
\begin{align*}{\color{red}0}\end{align*}
\begin{align*}1\end{align*} \begin{align*}{\color{red}1}\end{align*}
\begin{align*}2\end{align*} \begin{align*}{\color{red}4}\end{align*}
\begin{align*}3\end{align*} \begin{align*}{\color{red}9}\end{align*}

Example B

On a Cartesian grid, plot the points from the base table of values for \begin{align*}y=x^2\end{align*}.

\begin{align*}X\end{align*} \begin{align*}Y\end{align*}
\begin{align*}-3\end{align*} \begin{align*}{\color{red}9}\end{align*}
\begin{align*}-2\end{align*} \begin{align*}{\color{red}4}\end{align*}
\begin{align*}-1\end{align*} \begin{align*}{\color{red}1}\end{align*}
\begin{align*}{\color{red}0}\end{align*}
\begin{align*}1\end{align*} \begin{align*}{\color{red}1}\end{align*}
\begin{align*}2\end{align*} \begin{align*}{\color{red}4}\end{align*}
\begin{align*}3\end{align*} \begin{align*}{\color{red}9}\end{align*}

The plotted points cannot be joined to form a straight line. To join the points, begin with the point (-3, 9) or the point (3, 9) and without lifting your pencil, draw a smooth curve. The image should look like the following graph.

The arrows indicate the direction of the pencil as the points are joined. If the pencil is not moved off the paper, the temptation to join the points with a series of straight lines will be decreased. The points must be joined with a smooth curve that does not extend below the lowest point of the graph. In the above graph, the curve cannot go below the point (0, 0).

Example C

What are some unique characteristics of the graph of \begin{align*}y=x^2\end{align*}?

1. The green point is located at the lowest point on the image. The curve does not go below this point.
2. Every red point on the left side of the image has a corresponding blue point on the right side of the image.
3. If the image was folded left to right along the \begin{align*}y-\end{align*}axis that passes through the green point, each red point would land on each corresponding blue point.
4. The sides of the image extend upward.
5. The red and the blue points are plotted to the right and to the left of the green point. The points are plotted left and right one and up one; left and right two and up four, left and right 3 and up nine.

Example D

Now that some characteristics have been noted, it is important to correctly name these unique features.

The green point is the lowest point on the curve. The smooth curve is called a parabola and it is the image produced when the basic quadratic function is plotted on a Cartesian grid. The green point is known as the vertex of the parabola. The vertex is the turning point of the graph.

For the graph of \begin{align*}y=x^2\end{align*}, the vertex is (0, 0) and the parabola has a minimum value of zero which is indicated by the \begin{align*}y-\end{align*}value of the vertex. The parabola opens upward since the \begin{align*}y-\end{align*}values in the table of values are 0, 1, 4 and 9. The \begin{align*}y-\end{align*}axis for this graph is actually the axis of symmetry. The axis of symmetry is the vertical line that passes through the vertex of the parabola. The parabola is symmetrical about this line. The equation for this axis of symmetry is \begin{align*}x = 0\end{align*}. If the parabola were to open downward, the vertex would be the highest point of the graph. Therefore the image would have a maximum value of zero.

The domain for all parabolas is \begin{align*}D=\{x|x \ \varepsilon \ N\}\end{align*}. The range for the above parabola is \begin{align*}R=\{y|y \ge 0, y \ \varepsilon \ N\}\end{align*}.

Vocabulary

Axis of Symmetry
The axis of symmetry of a parabola is a vertical line that passes through the vertex of the parabola. The parabola is symmetrical about this line. The axis of symmetry has the equation \begin{align*}x =\end{align*} the \begin{align*}x-\end{align*}coordinate of the vertex.
Parabola
A parabola is the smooth curve that results from graphing a quadratic function of the form \begin{align*}y=ax^2+bx+c\end{align*}. The curve resembles a U-shape.
A quadratic function is a function of the form \begin{align*}y=ax^2+bx+c\end{align*} where \begin{align*}a, b\end{align*} and \begin{align*}c\end{align*} are real numbers and \begin{align*}a \ne 0\end{align*}.
Vertex
The vertex of a parabola is the point around which the parabola turns. The vertex is the maximum point of a parabola that opens downward and the minimum point of a parabola that opens upward.

Guided Practice

1. If the graph of \begin{align*}y=x^2\end{align*} opens downward, what changes would exist in the base table of values?

2. If the graph of \begin{align*}y=x^2\end{align*} opens downward, what changes would exist in the basic quadratic function?

3. Draw the image of the basic quadratic function that opens downward. State the domain and range for this parabola.

1. If the parabola were to open downward, the \begin{align*}x-\end{align*}values would not change. The \begin{align*}y-\end{align*}values would become negative values. The points would be plotted from the vertex as: right and left one and down one; right and left two and down four; right and left three and down nine. The table of values would be

\begin{align*}X\end{align*} \begin{align*}Y\end{align*}
\begin{align*}-3\end{align*} \begin{align*}{\color{red}-9}\end{align*}
\begin{align*}-2\end{align*} \begin{align*}{\color{red}-4}\end{align*}
\begin{align*}-1\end{align*} \begin{align*}{\color{red}-1}\end{align*}
\begin{align*}{\color{red}0}\end{align*}
\begin{align*}1\end{align*} \begin{align*}{\color{red}-1}\end{align*}
\begin{align*}2\end{align*} \begin{align*}{\color{red}-4}\end{align*}
\begin{align*}3\end{align*} \begin{align*}{\color{red}-9}\end{align*}

2. To match the table of values, the basic quadratic function would have to be written as \begin{align*}\boxed{-y=x^2}\end{align*}

3.

The domain is \begin{align*}D=\{x|x \ \varepsilon \ N\}\end{align*}. The range for this parabola is \begin{align*}R=\{y|y \le 0, y \ \varepsilon \ N\}\end{align*}.

Summary

In this lesson you have learned that a quadratic function is one of the form \begin{align*}y=ax^2+bx=c\end{align*} where \begin{align*}a, b\end{align*} and \begin{align*}c\end{align*} are real numbers and \begin{align*}a \ne 0\end{align*}. The basic quadratic function is \begin{align*}y=x^2\end{align*}. You learned to create a table of values for this basic quadratic function and to plot the points on a Cartesian grid. The points were joined with a smooth curve to produce an image known as a parabola.

From the graph, you learned that a parabola has a turning point known as the vertex. The vertex represented the minimum value of the graph if it opened upward and the maximum value if it opened downward. When the graph opened downward, the \begin{align*}y-\end{align*}values in the base table changed to negative values. This change was shown in the basic quadratic function as \begin{align*}\boxed{-y=x^2}\end{align*}.

You also learned that the parabola has an axis of symmetry. The axis of symmetry is the vertical line that passes through the vertex of the parabola. The equation for the axis of symmetry is always \begin{align*}x=\end{align*} the \begin{align*}x-\end{align*}coordinate of the vertex. You also learned to identify the domain and the range for the parabola.

Problem Set

Complete the following statements in the space provided.

1. The name given to the graph of \begin{align*}y=x^2\end{align*} is ____________________.
2. The domain of the graph of \begin{align*}y=x^2\end{align*} is ____________________.
3. If the vertex of a parabola was (-3, 5), the equation of the axis of symmetry would be ____________________.
4. A parabola has a maximum value when it opens ____________________.
5. The point (-2, 4) on the graph of \begin{align*}y=x^2\end{align*} has a corresponding point at ____________________.
6. The range of the graph of \begin{align*}-y=x^2\end{align*} is ____________________.
7. If the table of values for the basic quadratic function included 4 and -4 as \begin{align*}x-\end{align*}values, the \begin{align*}y-\end{align*}value(s) would be ____________________.
8. The vertical line that passes through the vertex of a parabola is called ____________________.
9. A minimum value exists when a parabola opens ____________________.
10. The turning point of the graph of \begin{align*}y=x^2\end{align*} is called the ____________________.

Complete the following statements...

1. parabola
1. \begin{align*}x=-3\end{align*}
1. (2, 4)
1. 16
1. upward

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