A Math Forum Web Unit
Suzanne Alejandre's

Graphing Linear Functions

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Suzanne's Math Lessons || Suzanne's Workshop Lessons
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Claris Works is often used for its word processing features but it is a wonderful tool to use for making graphs. The following steps can be used with students to have them create graphs of linear functions. Accompanying lessons on polynomial functions and/or exponential functions can be used separately or to compare the three types of functions.

Step One

Open Claris Works.
Make a new file.
Select spreadsheet.
Your screen should look similar to this:

Step Two

In column A type the numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6
(Type the number, press return, type the next number. . . or click in a cell, type the number, click in a cell, . . .)

In column B type the numbers 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

NOTE: This is a good place to point out that the numbers in Column A are values for x and the numbers in Column B are values for f(x). In this example f(x) = x + 2. The numbers in Column A and the numbers in Column B can be changed to fit whatever linear function you are having your students investigate.

Step Three

Starting in cell A1 select all the cells that have numbers so that they are highlighted like this:

Step Four

Go to OPTIONS and select MAKE CHART.
A window will appear.
Select X-Y Line as the type of graph you wish to use and then select the side button labeled axes.

Step Five

The X axis should be selected. If it is not, select it.
Type the following parameters in the appropriate spaces:
    Minimum - 0
    Maximum - 10
    Step size - 1

NOTE: If you are using a different function you may wish to change the parameters accordingly. The idea of setting the parameters is that it will make the function fit best on the graph. Also you can have different groups of students use different sets of parameters just to show the effect it has on the graph, particularly if you are discussing graphs which display data accurately.

Step Six

Now, select the Y axis button.
Type the following parameters in the appropriate spaces:
    Minimum - 0
    Maximum - 10
    Step size - 1

Step Seven

Select Labels.
and type in a name for your graph.

Step Eight

Select OK.
Your graph will appear on the screen.

At this point I like to have students

    Copy the graph
    Open a new file - word processing
    Paste the graph
    Write a description of what they did and what the graph represents.


Go to an example of student work.

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