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1.3 Average Rates of Change

1.3 Average Rates of Change

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06/14/2009

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Math 135 Business Calculus Spring 2009Class Notes
1.3 Average Rates of Change
Consider a function
y
=
(
x
) and two input values
x
1
and
x
2
. The
change in input
, or the
change in
x
, is
x
2
x
1
.
The corresponding
change in output
, or the
change in
y
, is
y
2
y
1
=
(
x
2
)
(
x
1
)
.
DEFINITION OF AVERAGE RATE OF CHANGE
The
average rate of change of
y
=
(
x
)
with respect to
x
, as
x
changes from
x
1
to
x
2
, is the ratio of the change in output to the change in input:
y
2
y
1
x
2
x
1
=
(
x
2
)
(
x
1
)
x
2
x
1
where
x
1
6
=
x
2
.If we look at the graph of the function, thenthe average rate of change will equal the slopeof the line passing through the points
(
x
1
,y
1
)and
Q
(
x
2
,y
2
). The line passing through
and
Q
is called a
secant line
.
EXAMPLE
The graph in the ﬁgure shows a typical response to adversing. Aftr an amount
a
is spenton advertising, the company sells
(
a
) units of a product. Find the average rate of change of
as
a
changes
a)
from 0 to 1
b)
from 1 to 2
c)
from 2 to 3
0 1 2 3 4
a
0100200300400500600700
N
11

12
Chapter 1
Di
ﬀ
erentiation
DIFFERENCE QUOTIENTS AS AVERAGE RATES OF CHANGE
We can rewrite the average rate of change of a function in a di
ﬀ
erent no-tation as follows. Instead of using
x
1
for an initial input, use
x
. From
x
,we move
h
units to the second input
x
2
=
x
+
h
. Then the average rate of change is
(
x
2
)
(
x
1
)
x
2
x
1
=
(
x
+
h
)
(
x
)(
x
+
h
)
x
=
(
x
+
h
)
(
x
)
h
DEFINITION OF DIFFERENCE QUOTIENT
The average rate of change of a function
with respect to
x
is also called the
di
ﬀ
erence quotient
. Itis given by
(
x
+
h
)
(
x
)
h
The di
ﬀ
erence quotient is equal to the slope of the line from
°
x,
(
x
)
¢
to
°
x
+
h,
(
x
+
h
)
¢
.
EXAMPLE
Let
(
x
) =
x
2
. Find the di
ﬀ
erence quotient when:
a)
x
= 5 and
h
= 3
b)
x
= 5 and
h
= 0
.
1
EXAMPLE
Let
(
x
) =
x
2
. Find a simpliﬁed form of the di
ﬀ
erence quotient. Then ﬁnd the value of the di
ﬀ
erence quotient when
x
= 5 and
h
= 0
.
1.