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Discussion: All Topics in Algebra II
Topic: Left Right Translation of Functions


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Subject:   Left Right Translation of Functions
Author: Susan
Date: Nov 27 2004
Most students have no problems understanding a real world application that shows
a vertical shift in a function.  For example, if students are asked to think of
a graph of the path of a ball  ball that is thrown from a person holding it at
waist level, and then another graph that shows the same throw from a person that
is standing on a ladder throwing it from waist level, they can easily see that
the vertical translation makes sense.  What is so much harder to explain is the
horizontal shift.  I have only seen it explained through a real world example in
one text.  All the students "know" that you shift it to the left/right according
to the number in the parenthesis, but I don't think they understand why it is
the opposite of the number, or how it would relate to a real world situation.
Does anyone have a good way to explain this?

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