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Sine and Cosine Graphs

Reading and Drawing


Sine and Cosine Graphs

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This is the graph for y = sin x.

3   3
 2    0  2
2 2 2 2

This is the graph for y = cos x.

3   3
 2    0  2
2 2 2 2

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y = sin x
One complete period is
highlighted on each of
these graphs.
3   3
 2    0  2
2 2 2 2

y = cos x

3   3
 2    0  2
2 2 2 2

For both y = sin x and y = cos x, the period is 2π. (From the beginning of
a cycle to the end of that cycle, the distance along the x-axis is 2π.)

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y = sin x
Amplitude deals with the
1
height of the graphs.

3   3
 2    0  2
2 2 2 2

-1

y = cos x
1

3   3
 2    0  2
2 2 2 2
-1

For both y = sin x and y = cos x, the amplitude is 1. Each of these


graphs extends 1 unit above the x-axis and 1 unit below the x-axis.

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For y = sin x, there is no phase shift.

3   3
 2    0  2
2 2 2 2

The y-intercept is located at the point (0,0).

We will call that point, the key point.

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3   3
 2    0  2
2 2 2 2

A sine graph has a phase shift if the key point


is shifted to the left or to the right.

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For y = cos x, there is no phase shift.

3   3
 2    0  2
2 2 2 2

-1

The y-intercept is located at the point (0,1).


We will call that point, the key point.

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A cosine graph has a phase shift if the key point
is shifted to the left or to the right.

3   3
 2    0  2
2 2 2 2

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For a sine graph which has no vertical shift, the equation for the
graph can be written as

y = a sin b (x - c)

For a cosine graph which has no vertical shift, the equation for the
graph can be written as

y = a cos b (x - c)

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y = a sin b (x - c) y = a cos b (x – c)

|a| is the amplitude of the sine or cosine graph.


The amplitude describes the height of the graph.

3
2
Consider this sine graph. Since
the height of this graph is 3, then 1
a = 3.
3   3
 2     -1 0  2
2 2 2 2
The equation for this graph can -2
be written as y = 3 sin x.
-3

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Consider this cosine graph. The height of this graph is 2, so a = 2.

2
1

3   3
 2    0  2
2 2 -1 2 2
-2

The equation for this graph can be written as y = 2 cos x.

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If a sine graph is “flipped” over the x-axis, the value of a will be negative.

3
2
1

3  -1  3
 2    0  2
2 2 2 2
-2
-3

For the graph above, a = -3.


An equation for this graph is y = -3 sin x.

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If a cosine graph is “flipped” over the x-axis, the value of a will be negative.

3   3
 2    0  2
2 2 2 2
-1

For the graph above, a = -1.


An equation for this graph is y = -1 cos x or just y = - cos x.

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y = a sin b (x - c) y = a cos b (x - c)

“b” affects the period of the sine or cosine graph.

For sine and cosine graphs, the period can be determined by

2
period  .
b
Conversely, when you already know the period of a sine or cosine
graph, b can be determined by
2
b .
period

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4
The period for this graph is . Use the period to calculate b.
3
2
1

b
2

2  3
4 2   2 4
    0  period  4  2
3 3 3 3 3 3  
-1  3 
-2

Notice that a =2 on this graph since the graph extends 2 units above
the x-axis.

3
Since b  and a = 2, the sine equation for this graph is
2

3
y  2 sin x.
2

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3   3
 2    0  2
2 2 2 2

A sine graph has a phase shift


if its key point has shifted to the
left or to the right.

3   3
 2    0  2
2 2 2 2

A cosine graph has a phase shift


if its key point has shifted to the
left or to the right.

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y = a sin b (x - c) y = a sin b (x - c)

“c” indicates the phase shift of the sine graph or of the


cosine graph. The x-coordinate of the key point is c.

y = sin x

1 
This sine graph moved
2
units to the right. “c”, the phase
shift, is  .
3   3 5
   0  2
2 2 2 2 2
2
-1
 
An equation for this graph can be written as y  sin  x  .
 2

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y = cos x

5 3   3
  2    0  2
2 2 2 2 2
-1

This cosine graph above moved units to the left.
2


“c”, the phase shift, is  .
2

An equation for this graph can be written as


     
y  cos x      or y  cos x   .
  2   2

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Graphs whose equations can be written as a sine function can also be
written as a cosine function.

4
3
2
1

4 2  -1  2 4
    
3 3 3 -2 3 3 3
-3
-4

Given the graph above, it is possible to write an equation for the


graph. We will look at how to write both a sine equation that describes
this graph and a cosine equation that describes the graph.

The sine function will be written as y = a sin b (x – c).


The cosine function will be written as y = a cos b (x – c).

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y = a sin b (x – c)
4
3
2
1

4 2  -1  2 4
    
3 3 3 -2 3 3 3
-3
-4

For the sine function, the values for a, b, and c must be determined.

The height of the graph is 4, so a = 4.

4 2 2 3 3
The period of the graph is . b   . b .
3 period 4 2 2
3
  
The key point has shifted to  , so the phase shift is  . c .
3 3 3
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y = a sin b (x – c)

4
3
2
1

4 2  -1  2 4
    
3 3 3 -2 3 3 3
-3
-4

3 
a=4 b c
2 3

3    3 
y  4 sin  x      or y  4 sin  x  
2  3  2 3

This is an equation for the graph written as a sine function.

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y = a cos b (x – c)

4
3
2
1

4 2  -1  2 4
    
3 3 3 -2 3 3 3
-3
-4

To write the equation as cosine function, the values for a, b, and c


must be determined. Interestingly, a and b are the same for cosine as
they were for sine. Only c is different.
The height of the graph is 4, so a = 4.

4 2 2 3 3
The period of the graph is . b   . b
3 period 4 2 2
3
The key point has not shifted, so there is no phase shift. That means
that c = 0.

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y = a cos b (x – c)

4
3
2
1

4 2  -1  2 4
    
3 3 3 -2 3 3 3
-3
-4

3
a=4 b c0
2

3 3
y  4 cos x  0  or y  4 cos x
2 2

This is an equation for the graph written as a cosine function.

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It is important to be able to draw a sine graph when you are given the
corresponding equation. Consider the equation

 
y  2 sin 2  x   .
 8
Begin by looking at a, b, and c.

 
y  2 sin 2  x   .
 8


a  2 b2 c
8

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  a  2 a 2
y  2 sin 2 x  
 8

The amplitude is 2. Maximums will be at 2.


2

-2
Minimums will be at -2.

The negative sign means that the graph has “flipped” about the x-axis.

-2

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 
 c
y  2 sin 2 x   8
 8


The phase shift is .
8

That means that the key point 8
shifts from the origin to  .
8

b2
Use b = 2 to calculate the period of the graph.

2 2
period   
b 2

8

One complete period is highlighted here.

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In order to correctly label the x-intercepts, maximums, and minimums on
the graph, you will need to divide the period into 4 equal parts or
increments.
An increment, ¼ of the period, is the distance between an x-intercept and
a maximum or minimum.

One increment


8

  
The increment is ¼ of the period. Since the period for y  2 sin 2 x  
 8
1 
is π, the increment is   or .
4 4

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To label the graph, begin at the phase shift. Add one increment at a time
to label x-intercepts, maximums, and minimums.

  3 5 7 9 11 13 15 17


 0 8
8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8 8
-2
  5 
 3  
8 4  8 4
8 4

 
y  2 sin 2  x  
 8

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1
What does the graph for the equation y  5 cos x    look like?
2

1
a5 b c  
2

a5 a 5 Maximums will be at 5.

This means that the 5


amplitude of the graph is 5.

-5

Minimums will be at -5.

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1
y  5 cos  x   . c  
2
The phase shift is  . 5

That means that the key point


shifts from the origin to  . 
-5

1
Use b  to calculate the period of the graph.
2
5
2 2
period    4
b 1
2 
-5
One complete period is highlighted here.

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Remember that the increment (¼ of the period) is the distance between
an x-intercept and a maximum or minimum.
1
Since the period for y  5 cos  x    is 4π, the increment is π.
2

Don’t forget that x-intercepts, maximums, and minimums can be labeled


by beginning at the phase shift and adding one increment at a time.

 2 
  0  2 3 4  5  This is the graph for
1
y  5 cos  x   .
-5 2
-π + π 0+π π+π

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Sometimes a sine or cosine graph may be shifted up or down. This is
called a vertical shift.

The equation for a sine graph with a vertical shift can be written as

y = a sin b (x - c) +d.

The equation for a cosine graph with a vertical shift can be written as

y = a cos b (x - c) +d.

In both of these equations, d represents the vertical shift.

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A good strategy for graphing a sine or cosine function that has a
vertical shift:
•Graph the function without the vertical shift
• Shift the graph up or down d units.

1
Consider the graph for y  5 cos  x     3 .
2

The equation is in the form y = a cos b (x - c) +d.


“d” equals 3, so the vertical shift is 3.
5
1
The graph of y  5 cos  x   
2
was drawn in the previous example.  2   0  2 3 4  5 

-5
1
y  5 cos x  
2

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1
To draw y  5 cos  x     3 , begin with the graph for y  5 cos 1 x   .
2 2

8 Draw a new horizontal axis at


y = 3.
5
3

2  0  2 3 4 5 Then shift the graph up 3 units.

-5

1
y  5 cos  x    3
2
1
The graph now represents y  5 cos x     3 .
2

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This concludes
Sine and Cosine Graphs.

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