Function for Kids

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Function for Kids

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is independent, it can take up any value you want, as long as it agrees with the definition. The variable y

depends on the value that x takes.

This is only a convention. There is no reason why x couldn't be the dependent variable. But this is a

useful convention.

These are the fundamentals of mathematical functions. To keep learning more, follow some of the

following links.

Conclusion

These are the things I want you to leave with:

We call quantities that change "variables".

If one variable is connected to another in some way, we say that one is a function of the other.

There are many ways to express functions: equations, graphs, tables.

To have a function correctly defined, we must specify which values x can take.

We write y = f(x) and read "y equals f of x".

Develop an intuitive idea of what is a function and learn how to solve problems easily. Many example s

and exersices for you.

The idea behind the domain of a function is pretty simple, but it can be tricky to actually find them at

first. Here we'll delve into the intuition and solve problems step by step...

Composite functions very rarely are explained properly, yet it is essential for you to understand them if

you want to master calculus. Here we'll make them clear and do some examples...

There are many ways to understand what is a function. One way that is very useful is to consider it a

rule, which given an input, gives an output. This way of looking at functions is very useful in calculus,

and we'll be using it almost always.

What do I mean by a rule which asigns an output to an input? Consider a box, like the one below:

The functions we use in calculus are rules that relate numbers. So, in our case, the "x" in the box

represents any real number.

In this case, we say that the function f(x) is evaluated at 1. We read f(1) "f of 1".

Me Example

You may already have an idea of what is a function after taking algebra. When think ing about functions

you probably think only about numbers.

Don't think that functions are only about numbers. In fact, almost anything can be considered a function!

Here are some hilarious examples of functions. I saw Salman Khan from the KhanAcademy teach using

them, and I found them very useful.

Let's say that I am a function. Let's study the Pablo function. In case you don't know, Pablo is my name.

What will happen if you give the Pablo function the input "food"? Let's see:

Now, let's consider the "you" function. Let's give "you" the input "calculus pages":

You(Pablo(food)) = ?

This may seem convoluted, but is very simple. Let's replace Pablo(food) by its equal, "calculus pages":

You may or may not find these examples useful. I found them hilarious when I saw them.

They are useful to show what is a function and that they are not limited to relationships between

numbers.

Solved Problem 1

Let's do some function problems. Let's say that:

What is f(-1)?

Solved Problem 2

Now, let's a do a slightly more complicated problem. Until now, to design a function we've been using

only the letter f, as in f(x).

When we have more than one function, we need other letters to name the functions. The favorites are "g"

and "h".

The question is:

And finally:

Solved Problem 3

Here we have another interesting problem:

Now, let's find this:

Exercises

Here's a little exercise for you:

Answers

Conclusion

There are many ways to understand what is a function, because it is a very general concept.

One way that is very useful is as a box, which given an input, gives an output.

Do some function problems!

Finding the Domain of a Function Step by Step

What is the domain of a function? In what is a function we saw that we can think of a function as a rule.

This rule, given an input, gives an output.

You could also say that it is a rule that "maps" the input to the output. In calculus, we often use this

notation:

This means that "y" is a function of "x". Here, x is the input, often called the independent variable. And

y is the output, and it is called the dependent variable.

So, back to the domain of a function. What is it? It is just the set of values that x can take. You can think

of the domain as a bag. This bag contains all the x's you can choose as input for the function.

The domain of a function can be defined explicitly or implicitly, but it is always defined.

Example 1

As an example of a domain defined explicitly, let's say I give you the expression:

Here I tell you that x must be greater than 0. You can't choose any x. In the bag you only have positive

x's.

This function has an implicitly defined domain. I don't specify the valid values of x. So, it is implicit that

the domain is the set of all real numbers.

Example 2

A more interesting example of an implicitly defined domain is the function:

At first glance you may think this is the same as the previous case. However, what would happen if x=2?

We'll get

And 1/0 doesn't make sense. (if you're not completely sure why division by zero doesn't make sense,

here's a simple explanation).

Because f(2) doesn't make sense, we take the 2 out of the bag, and the domain is the set of all real

numbers that are not 2.

More examples...

Example 3

Let's consider the function:

In the real numbers, the squareroot of a number is defined only for positive numbers. The squareroots of

negative numbers do exist, but we won't consider them here.

So, our function is only defined when there is a positive number inside (or zero!) the square root sign.

That means that x-3 must be positive:

And the domain of this function is the set of all numbers equal or greater than 3. A fancy way of saying

this is that the domain is:

Conclusion

The domain of a function is the set of all values the independent variable can take.

The domain can be specified explicitly or implicitly. When it is implicit, the domain is the set of all

real numbers for which the function makes sense.

Composite functions is the fancy name given to functions whose argument is also a function. Let's say I

give you the functions defined by the rules:

Here we can create a new function, using g(x) as the argument:

Remember that we need to specify the domain to have a function properly defined.

In this case, f circle g is defined for all valid values of g(x). Why? Because g(x) is the argument!

But what are the valid values of g(x)? sin(x) is well defined for all real values of x. So, the domain is the

set of real numbers.

Example 1

Let's say we have the functions:

We want to find:

Now it looks simpler, doesn't it? What would our P(y) be? Well, just replace x by y:

So, we have:

Let's keep working the functions:

Because we have the (t) at the end, what we wanto to find is the value of the function at t. According to

our definition:

Here, instead of why we have s(t). So, we just to replace and get:

So, finally:

What do you think? Will it be the same result? Let's find out:

So, we have:

No matter where you put the parenthesis, you get the same value.

Example 3

Now we'll solve the reverse of what we were doing previously. Let's say we have the function defined

by:

We can solve this in two ways, but getting the same result. We have:

We can start analyzing the "outer" function sin. We have a function sin(something). Our s(x) is defined

as sin(x), so we have:

Ok, now we have to express 2 to the x using our functions. This one is easy. We already have:

So,

What is the othe way of doing this problem? You could also had started repalcing first the 2 to the x. As

an exercise, you might want to do the same with the function:

Conclusion

When you have the composite of three functions, no matter where you put the parenthesis, you get

the same function.

Composite functions problems are not hard. You just need to get used to notation.

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