Slope Intercept Form

Contributor: Jonathan Heagy. Lesson ID: 12675

Not being able to graph linear equations can be a slippery slope of failure. Using the simple technique outlined in this lesson (and rap song) will help you coordinate your graphing and art skills!


Expressions and Equations, Pre-Algebra, Pre-Algebra

learning style
personality style
Otter, Golden Retriever
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Skill Sharpener

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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In this lesson, you're going to have to rise up and run with what you've already learned about slope because you're going to use it to graph linear equations in a brand new way. You're going to use it to make math art! How do you think this is possible?

Let's start by quickly thinking about what slope means.

Find a family member or friend and teach them what you know about slope! You can tell them things like the definition and how to find it.

Slope is a measure of steepness, and is found by dividing the vertical change between two points by the horizontal change.

Now, you will learn about slope intercept form. This is a great way to visualize a linear equation and a very effective tool for graphing. This form of equation is called slope intercept form because it tells us the y-intercept of the equation.

Slope intercept form is y = mx + b. You're going to want to memorize it; it'll be very helpful. Take a moment to learn what these variables represent.

First, we have "m," which represents the slope of the equation. After that, "b" represents the y-intercept. Watch Lamar Queen's video, Slope Intercept Rap, to get a better understanding. It does a good job of telling you about slope intercept form and helps you memorize it! During the video, think about how knowing the slope and y-intercept might help us graph an equation more easily:

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To graph an equation in slope intercept form, simply find your value for b and plot the point (0,b) on a coordinate plane. After that, just draw your slope! Remember that slope is rise over run. If your slope is 3, beginning at your y-intercept, move up 3 and over 1. If our slope is 3, and slope is equal to rise over run, think of it like 3/1! 3/1 is still equal to 3, so when graphing, we have to remember to move over 1 when our slope is an integer. It's that easy!

Try graphing the equation: y = 2x - 4.

  1. Start by identifying your y-intercept and slope. Our slope is our m value, which is 2, and our y-intercept is our b value, which is –4 or (0,-4).
  2. Plot your y-intercept!
  3. Draw in your slope!

You're all set! On a sheet of paper, compare and contrast graphing with slope intercept form and graphing with intercepts.

Continue on to the Got It? section for some practice.

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