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Web-Based Labs 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 this form are called linear functions because their graphs are straight lines. The purpose of this lab is to help you to confirm this and to see how the values of the parameters are related to properties of the graph.

For the activities in this lab, you will be drawing graphs using our "Graph Explorer" applet,
but it will also be useful for you to do at least some of the activities "by hand" using a pencil and paper, so you might want to have some graph paper available before you start.(You may also want to try doing the same thing with your graphing calculator if you have one, or with any other computer algebra system that you might have available on your computer.)

 [ Start Lab Using Frames]                [Start Lab Without Frames]

[Either of the two buttons above can be used to start the lab in a new browser window on top of this one. The button on the left will run the lab in a framed window with the instructions in one frame and the Graph Explorer in the other, and the one on the right will open a window with just the instructions and a link to the Graph Explorer which will open it in another window. If you want to be able to reposition the text and graphs independently use the right button, but if you prefer to have the two parts kept together without having to manage the two windows yourself, then use the left button.]

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