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Direct Variation

Formula Method Proportion Method


Problem
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[Math Processing Error] [Math
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The value of y varies
directly with x, and We can set up a proportion with
y=20 when x=2. the y’s on top, and the x’s on
Since x and y vary directly, we know bottom (think of setting slopes
that y=kx. Since the problem was
stated that y varies directly with x, equal to each other )
Find y when x=8. we place the y first.

When we see the word “when” in


the original problem
Solve for k, using the values of (“y=20 when x=2”), it means
(Note that this may be x and y that we know (x=2,y=20). that that x goes with that y.
also be written “y is We see that k=10.
proportional to x, and
y=20 when x=2. Find
We can then cross multiply to get
y when x=8“.) Now use y=10x. We plug the new the new y.
x, which is 8. We get the new y=80.

It’s really that easy. Can you see why the proportion method can be the preferred method, unless
you are asked to find the k constant in the formula?

Again, if the problem asks for the equation that models this situation, it would be “y=10x”.

Direct Variation Word Problem:

Here’s another:

Direct Variation
Formula Method Proportion Method
Problem
[Math Processing Error] [Math [Math Processing Error]
The amount of money
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raised at a school
fundraiser is directly
proportional to the We can set up a proportion with
number of people who
Since the amount of money is the y’s on top (amount of
attend.
directly proportional (varies money), and the x’s on bottom
Direct Variation
Formula Method Proportion Method
Problem
directly) to the number who attend, (number of attendees). We can
we know that y=kx, where y= the then cross multiply to get the new
amount of money raised and x= the amount of money (y).
Last year, the amount number of attendees. (Since the
of money raised for 100 problem states that the amount of
attendees was $2500. money is directly proportional to the
number of attendees, we put the We get the new y=25000. If
amount of money first, or as the y). 1000 people attend, $25,000 will
be raised!
How much money will
be raised if 1000
people attend this
We need to fill in the numbers from
year?
the problem, and solve for k. We see
that k=25. We have y=25x. We plug
the new x, which is 1000.

We get the new y=25000. If 1000


people attend, $25,000 would be
raised!

Direct Variation Word Problem:

Here’s another; let’s use the proportion method:

Direct Variation Problem Proportion Method


[Math Processing Error]
Brady bought an energy
efficient washing machine for
her new apartment.
We can set up a proportion with the y’s on top
(representing gallons), and the x’s on bottom
If she saves about 10 gallons (representing number of loads). Remember that “per
of water per load, how many load” means “for 1 load”.
gallons of water will she
save if she washes 20 loads
of laundry?
We can then cross multiply to get the new y. Brady will
save 200 gallons if she washes 20 loads of laundry.
Direct Variation Problem Proportion Method

See how similar these types of problems are to the Proportions problems we did earlier?

Direct Square Variation Word Problem:

Again, a Direct Square Variation is when y is proportional to the square of x, or y=kx2. Let’s
work a word problem with this type of variation and show both the formula and proportion
methods:

Direct Square
Formula Method Proportion Method
Variation Problem
[Math Processing Error]
[Math Processing Error] [Math
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We can set up a proportion with


the y’s on top, and x2’s on the
Since y is directly proportional bottom.
If y varies directly (varies directly) to the square of x, we
with the square of x, know that y=kx2. Plug in the first
and if y=4 when x=3, numbers we have for x and y to see We can plug in the numbers we
what is y when x=2? that k=49. have, and then cross multiply to
get the new y.

We have y=49x2. We plug the new


x, which is 2, and get the new y, We then get the new y=169.
which is 169.
Inverse or Indirect Variation
Indirect Variation
Formula Method Product Rule Method
Problem
[Math Processing Error] [Math
Processing Error]

[Math Processing Error]


The value of y varies Since x and y vary inversely, we
inversely (or know that xy=k, or y=kx.
indirectly) with x, and
y=4 when x=3. We know that when you
multiply the x’s and y’s (with the
Find x when y=6. We first fill in the x and y values with same subscript) we get a
x1 and y1 from the problem. constant, which is k. You can see
Remember that the variables with the
that k=12 in this problem.
same subscript, such as x1 and y1,
stay together. We then solve for k,
which is 12.
The problem may also We can just substitute in all the
be worded like this: numbers that we are given and
solve for the number we want –
Let x1=3, y1=4, and We then put the y2 value in for y. We in this case, x2.
y2=6. then solve for x2, which is 2. (If the
x2 value were given, you’d put that in
Let y vary inversely as for x, and solve for y2).
x. This way is easier than the
formula method, but, again, you
Find x2. will probably be asked to know
The formula way may take a little both ways.
more time, but you may be asked to
do it this way, especially if you need
to find k, and the equation of
variation, which is y=12x.

Inverse Variation Word Problem:

Here’s another; let’s use the product method:

Inverse Variation Problem Product Rule Method


Inverse Variation Problem Product Rule Method
For the Choir fundraiser, the [Math Processing Error]
number of tickets Allie can buy is
inversely proportional to the price
of the tickets.
We know that when you multiply the x’s and y’s we
get a constant, which is k. The number of tickets Allie
can buy times the price of each ticket is k. We can let
She can afford 15 tickets that cost
$5 each. the x’s be the price of the tickets.

How many tickets can Allie buy if We can just substitute in all the numbers that we are
each cost $3? given and solve for the number we want. We see that
Allie can buy 25 tickets that cost $3. This makes
sense, since we can see that she only can spend $75
(which is k!)

“Work” Inverse Proportion Word Problem:

Here’s a more advanced problem that uses inverse proportions in a “work” word problem;
we’ll see more “work problems” here in the Systems of Linear Equations Section and here in
the Rational Functions and Equations Section.

“Work” Inverse Variation


Product Rule Method
Problem
If 16 women working 7 hours [Math Processing Error]
day can paint a mural in 48
days, how many days will it
take 14 women working 12
hours a day to paint the same Since each woman is working at the same rate, we know
mural? that when we multiply the number of women (x) by the
number of the hours a day (y) by the number of days
they work (z), it should always be the same (a constant).
(Try it yourself with some easy numbers).
(The three different values
are inversely proportional; for
example, the more women you
have, the less days it takes to We can just substitute in all the numbers that we are given
paint the mural, and the more and solve for the number we want (days). So we see that it
hours in a day the women paint, would take 32 days for 14 women that work 12 hours a day
the less days they need to to paint the mural. In this case, our k is 5376, which
“Work” Inverse Variation
Product Rule Method
Problem
complete the mural.) represents the number of hours it would take one woman
alone to paint the mural.