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Internet Resources for the Calculus Student - Topics in Precalculus

Linear Functions

In many situations we find that one variable, let's call it y, is related to another, say x, by a relation of the form y=mx+b, where m and b are numerical constants.

Functions of the form f(x)=mx+b are called linear functions because their graphs are straight lines. (Here, the letters m and b stand for numbers, often called "parameters", and each distinct choice of these numerical parameters gives a different line.)

If you have a Java-enabled browser, then you can use our Graph Explorer to see the effects of changing the parameters.  (Any Computer Algebra System or Graphing Calculator might do as well of course but the specific instructions would be a bit different.)

For guidance through a more detailed exploration you can work through our on-line lab on
Linear Functions.

This "game" gives you practice in finding a linear function whose graph includes two given points

The IES group in Japan has also produced JAVA applets with which you can explore how the equation and graph of a linear function are related.

And there are a number of other sites which also deal with these ideas.

 If you come across any other good web-based illustrations of these and related concepts,
     please do let us know and we will add them here.

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