How to Graph Linear Equations Using the Intercepts Method

There are many ways to graph a line: plugging in points, calculating the slope and y-intercept of a line, using a graphing calculator, etc. This article will teach you how to graph a line using intercepts.

Steps

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    Linear equations will always have two variables, the independent variable and the dependent variable. Identify both. For the sake of clarity, let the independent be x and the dependent be y.
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    Set x to zero.
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    Solve like a normal equation. This will generate a coordinate for your y-intercept. First, substitute x to zero. Then, subtract the product from both sides of the equation. Note that the operation you will perform with both sides depends on the sign of your number. In this case the number is zero so we will use its opposite, subtraction. After that, divide three from both sides. And, VOILA! You have the answer.
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    Put your value in a coordinate pair. (x,y) Since x=0, your coordinate pair will be similar to: (0,y).
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    Graph the point on a coordinate plane.
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    Repeat steps 2-5, setting y=0 and solving for x. Again, since you set y=0, your coordinate pair will look something like: (x,0).
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    Take a straightedge and connect the two points.

Tips

  • Do this in pencil. You might make a mistake.
  • X will always be the independent variable on the horizontal x-axis.
  • Usually, you are dealing with an xy-coordinate plane.
  • Likewise, y will always be the dependent variable on the vertical y-axis.

Warnings

  • In a coordinate pair, x always comes first.
  • Always put parentheses around a coordinate pair, or you will convey the wrong mathematical message to a reader.

Article Info

Categories: Algebra