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2/9/2008

I am attempting to find a pattern common for gradient functions of an equation and the equation. I hope to find a generalized method of finding a gradient function, given the equation of a curve and how the gradient functions can be used to find the gradient of a line at a given value of x. The gradient of a graph is its slope. This can be found by the use of the equation rise . Rise is the quantity of units up, for so many units along. If two points are picked run from the line, you simply count how high, and far along one is from the other. The y2 y1 gradient can also be found by . One picks two points along the line, and uses the x2 x1 x and y values from its coordinates. The gradient can be positive or negative. If a slope is going up in the direction left, it is negative, if it is going right it is positive. I will show the calculation of some gradients for the following straight-line equations: y = 3x + 2 y = 4 – 2x y = 3x + 2

Gradient =

3 1 = 3 Page 1 of 12

Kelly Dillon y = 4 – 2x

2/9/2008

3 1.5 =2 As the line has a negative slope it slants to the left, the gradient is –2. Gradient = I will now find the gradient of a parabola and a polynomial. However, these graphs y2 y1 rise cannot have their gradient found by the simple or equation, the graph of x x2 x1 run against the gradient of the equation, the tangent, must be drawn, and its gradient found. This, below, is the tangent to the parabola. By getting the equation of this tangent, and putting in a value of x, we can know the gradient for the curve at that value of x by substituting in x. The reason we must do this for a curve is that a curve does not have one gradient, but one for every value of x on it. The gradient equation and gradient for these points can, I have found, be known. The gradient equation is shown by g: y = axn. Graphmatica calculates this equation, when it has the equation, in the form y = axn

Page 2 of 12

Kelly Dillon y = x2

2/9/2008

a.) y = x2

b.) g: y = 2x

For the equation a, y = x2 the gradient function is b, g: y = 2x To then find the gradient of the parabola at a certain point, as a curve has many different gradients unlike a line, we must assign a value of x. I have found that where x = 3, the gradient is 6: Page 3 of 12

Kelly Dillon

2/9/2008

g(x) = 2x g(3) = 2(3) g(3) = 6 I will repeat this for a polynomial. y = x3

y2 y1 rise or x2 x1 run equations. We must also find its gradient function. For a polynomial, the gradients function is a parabola. I found for the equation a, the gradient function to be b. As the polynomial is also a curve, its gradient cannot be found by the

a.) y = x3

b.) g: y = 3x2 Page 4 of 12

Kelly Dillon

2/9/2008

For the equation a, y = x3 the gradient function is b, g: y = 3x2. If I want to find the gradient of a specific point on the polynomial, I, as with the previous example, substitute a value for x. Where x = 3, the gradient is 27: g(x)=3x2 g(3)=3(3)2 g(3)=27 I will show this process, of finding the gradient function of an equation with Graphmatica, repeated, for other equations, in hope that a patter may become apparent where I can calculate the gradient function of an equation with a generalized method, with out Graphmatica. The equation shown as a, and its gradient function, b.

Page 5 of 12

Kelly Dillon

2/9/2008

a.) y = 3x2

b.) g: y = 6x

Where x = 3, the gradient of the equation is 18. g: y = 6x g(x) = 6x g(3) = 6(3) g(3) = 18

a.) y = 5x3

b.) g: y = 15x2

Page 6 of 12

Kelly Dillon

2/9/2008

Where x = 3, the gradient of the equation is 135. g: y = 15x2 g(x) = 15x2 g(3) = 15(9) g(3) = 135 a.) y = 2x2 – 3x + 5 b.) g: y = 4x – 3

Where x = 3, the gradient of the equation is 9. Page 7 of 12

Kelly Dillon g: y = 4x – 3 g(x) = 4x – 3 g(3) = 4(3) – 3 g(3) = 9

2/9/2008

a.) y = 3x4 + 6x2 - x +6

b.) g: y = 12x3 + 12x - 1

Where x = 3, the gradient of the equation is 2051. g: y = 12x3 + 12x – 1 g(x) = 12x3 + 12x – 1 g(3) = 12(33) + 12(3) – 1 g(3) = 2051 Below is a table of equations and their gradient functions that I have tested. Equation y = 3x + 2 y = 4 – 2x y = x2 y = x3 y = 3x2 y = 5x3 y = 2x2 – 3x + 5 y = 3x4 + 6x2 - x +6 Gradient Function g: y = 3 g: y = 2 g: y = 2x g: y= 3x2 g: y = 6x g: y = 15x2 g: y = 4x – 3 g: y = 12x3 + 12x - 1

Page 8 of 12

Kelly Dillon

2/9/2008

I noticed a pattern that was common between equations that I had tested, compared to their gradient functions. If we took an equation, (a)xn, its gradient function would be (a)(n)xn-1. For example, when y = 3x2, the gradient was found to be 6x. This can also be shown as (3)(2)x2-1. The same applies, I found for values of n up to 4. For an equation like y = 3x2 + 4, the gradient is also 6x, as I found that when an equation is (a)xn + c, its gradient function is (a)(n)xn-1 + 0. The same held true for equations like the following, y = 3x4 + 6x2 – x +6, its gradient function was 12x3 + 12x – 1. Our method is that for y = axn + c g: y = anxn-1 + 0. I was also, once I had found out the gradient function, able to find the gradient of the curves for a value of x. I will now test other equations that also have xn, but involve fractions, where xn is on the denominator to see if the pattern follows here as well. The equation, a, and its gradient function, b. a.) y = 2 x b.) g: y = 2 x2

Page 9 of 12

Kelly Dillon 1 x2 2x 2 4 = x x3

2/9/2008

a.) y =

b.) g: y = -

a.) y =

3 2x2 7 x

b.) g: y =

3 x 4x

2

Page 10 of 12

Kelly Dillon

2/9/2008

a.) y =

2x 5 x

b.) g: y =

2 x (2 x 5) x2

Equation 2 y= x 1 y= 2 x 3 2 y = 2x 7 x 2x 5 y= x

Gradient Function 2 g: y = 2 x 2x 2 g: y = - 4 = - 3 x x 3 g: y = 2 x 4x 2 x (2 x 5) g: y = x2

The pattern, when y = axn, g: y = anxn-1 also applies for these equations. However, as these equations involve fractions, with the xn in the denominator, the equations had to be arranged. 1 For example from n to x-n. It also helped to simplify the gradient function. Only then x 1 was I noticeable that the pattern still applied for one case, where y = 2 , the gradient x 2x 2 function given by graphmatica was - 4 and I had to simplify it to - 3 to notice the x x pattern.

Page 11 of 12

Kelly Dillon

2/9/2008

We can see that given the equation of a curve, putting it into the form xn + c, where c is a value with out x, that the gradient function will be anxn-1 + 0. I will now, with out the aide of Graphmatica find the gradient function of the following equations using this method.

By using the general method, found to be true for several equations, for an equation y = axn, g: y = anxn-1, one can, as shown above, find the gradient function of an equation without a graph. This also means that with substitution it is possible, with out a graph, to find the gradient of a particular point on a graph for a given value of x.

Page 12 of 12

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