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Unit: Quadratic Equations and Inequalities Module: Equations Quadratic in Form [Page 1 of 1]

Solving for a Squared Variable


−b ± b 2 − 4ac
• Quadratic formula: x =
2a

• The example used in this lecture shows you a problem where a variable is
treated as a number. In this case, y is part of the answer when you solve
for x.

• The quadratic formula gives us an easy way to solve equations that might
appear unsolvable and that certainly involve messy numbers. You can use
it for any quadratic equation.

Here’s an example using the quadratic formula: ax 2 + bx


+ c = 0.

In this problem,
a=3
b = y (It’s OK to have a variable as a coefficient so
long as it is NOT the variable you are solving for.)
c = 4y 2

Now, you are ready to use the formula, a matter of


simple substitution.

Here’s what this problem looks like after you’ve


substituted its “numbers” into the formula.

Next simplify in whatever ways are possible.

And here’s your answer. You have solved for x in terms


of y.

Because this answer includes a negative constant, you


are using “i”.

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Copyright  2001, Thinkwell Corp. All Rights Reserved. 6869 –rev 05/21/2001

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Unit: Quadratic Equations and Inequalities Module: Equations Quadratic in Form [Page 1 of 1]

Finding Real Number Restrictions

• The denominator can never have a value of zero. That stipulation restricts
the domain of the variable to exclude any values that yield a value of zero
for the denominator.

• The domain of the variable is the set of all real numbers that the variable
can use.

• To find any value of the variable that makes the denominator equal zero,
set the denominator equal to zero and solve that equation. This value(s)
must be excluded from the domain of the variable.

In this example, you factored the denominator.

Next set each factor equal to zero to see what values


of x must be eliminated from the domain.

If an equation is too complex to be easily factored, use


the quadratic formula. It will show you every number
that must be excluded.

In this example, first you factored the denominator.

Then you set the factor(s) equal to zero and solved for
x.

This solution is the one real number that must be


excluded from the domain of x.

This example shows you a different result.

This denominator can equal zero only when x has the


value of an imaginary number.

Therefore, no real numbers are excluded and the


domain is all real numbers.

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Copyright  2001, Thinkwell Corp. All Rights Reserved. 6705 –rev 05/02/2001

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Unit: Quadratic Equations and Inequalities Module: Equations Quadratic in Form [Page 1 of 1]

Solving Fancy Quadratics

• Frequently an equation that appears to be of higher degree than a squared


term, can be rewritten so that your quadratic techniques allow you to solve
it.

• Be creative with your use of variables. Look for ways to use them so that
you can see your equation as a quadratic and use all your tools.

• Remember that whenever you solve an equation by substituting in a new


variable, you must replace that variable when you have found its solution.
At that point, you reinsert the original variable and solve for its values from
this much simplified equation.

Since you have x 2 and its square x 4 in this equation,


substitute in a new variable that equals x 2.

Now solve the equation as a quadratic.

Substitute x 2 back in for the variable.

Solve for x. Expect four answers because your variable


was originally raised to the fourth degree.

This example works much the same way.

Since you have x3 and its square x6, you can substitute
in a new variable for x3.

Then solve the equation.

Finally, put the x3 back in and solve for it.

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Copyright  2001, Thinkwell Corp. All Rights Reserved. 6707 –rev 05/02/2001

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Unit: Quadratic Equations and Inequalities Module: Solving by Completing the Square

Horizontal Parabolas
• Parabolas can be either vertical or horizontal.
• Vertical parabolas represent functions. Horizontal parabolas do not.
• The x is squared in a vertical parabola.
• The y is squared in a horizontal parabola.
• Sketch a parabola using its orientation and finding the vertex.
• Complete the square to convert from standard form to vertex form.

Parabolas can open either up and down, or


sideways.
Those that open sideways do not represent
functions. They fail the vertical line test.

Horizontal parabolas can open in either the positive


or negative direction.
The vertex is (h, k).
Their equations come in both standard and vertex
form. Note that the variables have swapped places
and exponents in these equations.
−b
The axis of symmetry is y = .
2a
This can also be expressed as y = k.
The axis now relies on k rather than h.

This example has a vertex of (–4, 2), clearly seen in


the vertex form of the equation.
The axis of symmetry is y = 2 rather than x = h.
The curve opens in the negative direction because
its squared term, (y – 2), has the negative
coefficient –3.

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Copyright  2001, Thinkwell Corp. All Rights Reserved. 1955 –rev 10/10/2001