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Grade 10


Maths Investigation: What does the linear factored form of a quadratic function tell us about the appearance of its graph?

This investigation was all about finding out the type of parabolic shape occurs and about how to find the x-intercepts. Firstly we used the factorised form of a perfect square equation. So in simplified terms it became y = (product notation). In general terms we used y= ax 2 +bx + c. And that in its factorised form was y= a(x+b) (x+c). The ‘a’ would be used if there was a coefficient on the squared term. This was also called the linear factored form during our investigation because there is no exponential notation thus making it linear.

The next step of our investigation was the investigation stage itself. We took several functions of the linear factored forms such as, y= (x-3) (x-6), y= (x+4) (x+6), etc. We entered these functions with input x and output y into the input bar in Geogebra. This gave us different parabolas according to the function we had entered. As we kept on plotting more and more parabolic graphs I began to see the connection between the linear factored form and the appearance of the graph. Then were told to generalize the pattern and develop into a rule according to suggested results. With the help of the actual x-intercepts in the parabola it became clear to me that the suggested results meant that the two constants, in the linear factored form case, b and c, were the inverses of the actual x-intercepts. Now we had discovered the rule and I was able to apply it to the other examples of the linear factored graphs when I graphed them. Using this so called rule we were able to make predictions of the x-intercepts just by looking at the factored forms.

For e.g. - I made a prediction based on the linear factored form, so I initially typed y = (x+4) (x+1) into the input bar in Geogebra. Before pressing enter I made a prediction on the outcome of the parabola. Using the inverse ruleI predicted that the two x-intercepts would be negative 4 and negative 1. This is because the inverse of 4 is negative 4 and it’s the same with the 1. When I entered the equation in Geogebra .......

y = (x+4) (x+1)

My prediction came true. The rule was now finally applied as well. To justify it I needed the help of the null factor law according to what was said in our math class the tech lab. The null factor law is applied mostly in the linear factored form to render the y value to 0. Since there are two values in each of the brackets if x is equal to their negative one of those brackets immediately become 0 thus balancing the entire equation. In the case of this specific equation (y = (x+4) (x+1)) the 2 solutions would be -4 and -1. If either one of

Neel Grade 10 Maths Maths Investigation : What does the linear factored form of a quadratic

Neel Grade 10 Maths those 2 numbers became the values of x in that equation, it would render it null. And the parabola

intercepted those exact numbers as its x- intercepts.

My equation worked out algebraically to prove the parabola and the prediction correct-

y = (x+4) (x+1)

0= (x+4) (x+1)

X = -4 or -1 because-

If x = -4 .....

y = (-4+4) (-4+1)

y = 0(-3) in this situation x is already 0 so there is no need go on further because 0 * anything is 0 so the equation is correct.

If x =-1

y = (-1+4) (-1+1)

y = (3) 0 in this situation there is also a resulting 0 so both these equations are valid and therefore both of these solutions are valid as well.

This inverse rule doesn’t have many limitations because anything that can be included in a graph can be applicable for this rule. Mathematically it wouldn’t make much sense if there were limitations of

a few specific numbers only applied to the rule and not to the whole equation and thus the graph.

To answer the research question, through this investigation, I have found out a rule by investigating the graphs of different linear factored forms, justified a rule through resulting numbers and proved that rule using algebra. This process of graphing with Geogebra is considered a little bit extensive after finding the rule. The linear factored form of a quadratic function tells us whether or not the x intercepts will be positive or not.