Finding the Rule |
Finding the Rule of Correspondence: a general approach
In many questions on functions, we're given the rule of correspondence for the particular function in question -- however, there are times when we must find the rule either from information in the problem, data in a table or from a graph of the function.
Since each category or family of functions has a "template" format -- we need only plug the values that are given into the parameters or variables they represent, then we can solve for the missing information to complete the definition of the rule of correspondence. Like this:
Example 1:
Find the rule of correspondence for a quadratic function with vertex at ( – 1, 3)
through the point P( – 5, – 7).
Solution:
Since we know it is a quadratic function, we'll use the template for quadratics.
f (x) = a(x – h)^{ 2} + k , is the format.
We know h and k since they are the coordinates of the vertex.
So we can rewrite the template replacing h and k with – 1 and 3:
f (x) = a(x – (–1))^{ 2} + 3 = a(x + 1)^{ 2} + 3
Now we only need to find "a".
So, we plug in the x and y values from P(–5, – 7)
since, if P is on the curve, its coordinates must satisfy the rule,
so f (x) = a(x + 1)^{ 2} + 3 becomes – 7 = a(–5 + 1)^{ 2} + 3
since at P(–5, – 7), x = – 5 and y or f (x) = – 7
Solving for "a", we get
So the function rule is
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finding the rule of correspondence | from data table to rule | from graph to rule |
function rule templates | practice | solutions |
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From Data Table to Rule of Correspondence
In certain questions, the coordinates of a number of points on the curve are presented in table format. Once we know what kind of function is involved, we can define the rule using substitution.
Example 2:
The table below lists the coordinates of points on an Absolute Value Curve.
Determine the rule of correspondence for this function.
x | f (x) |
4 | 7 |
10 | 7 |
7 | –3 |
Solution:
Since we know it is an absolute value function, we'll use the template for that family.
f (x) = a | x – h | + k , is the format.
When we inspect the coordinates of the points in the table, we can see that (4, 7) and (10, 7) are partner points -- they have the same y-value. This tells us that the x-value of the axis of symmetry must be half-way between these x-values since the curve is symmetric to the axis.
The x-value half way between 4 and 10 is 7.
So, the 3rd point in the table (7, – 3) is the vertex (h, k)
since it lies on the axis of symmetry.
Substituting h and k into the template gives:
f (x) = a | x – 7 | – 3
To solve for "a", let's plug-in the coordintes of (4, 7)
7 = a | 4 – 7 | – 3 becomes 10 = 3a so
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finding the rule of correspondence | from data table to rule | from graph to rule |
function rule templates | practice | solutions |
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From Graph to Rule of Correspondence
In many word problems, we're presented with a graph of the situation and in solving the problem we must find the rule of correspondence for the curves in the diagram. Again, we read the information that's given, substitute values into the template for the function rule, then solve for the missing pieces.
Example 3:
Depicted below is a Square Root Function. Find the rule of correspondence.
The vertex is at (2, – 1), the curve moves up and left from the vertex, through P(1, 5).
Since the template for this type of function is:
and we know that b = – 1 since the curve goes left, our template becomes
Now substitute the x and y values from P to find "a"
so the function rule is
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finding the rule of correspondence | from data table to rule | from graph to rule |
function rule templates | practice | solutions |
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Function Type | Rule Template |
Linear | (generic form) f (x) = a(x – h ) + k, (standard form) f (x) = Ax + Bx + C, (general form -- no fractions) f (x) = ax + b, (zeros form) |
Quadratic | f (x) = a(x – h )^{ 2} + k, (standard form) f (x) = ax^{2} + bx + c, (general form) f (x) = a(x – x_{1})( x – x_{2}), (zeros form) |
Absolute Value | f (x) = a | x – h | + k |
Square Root | |
Greatest Integer | f (x) = a[ b (x – h) ]+ k |
First Degree Rational | by division |
Exponential | f (x) = ac^{ ( x – h)} + k |
Logarithmic | f (x) = a log_{ c }b ( x – h ) + k |
Transformed Sine | f (x) = a sin b(x – h) + k |
Transformed Cosine | f (x) = a cos b(x – h) + k |
Transformed Tangent | f (x) = a tan b(x – h) + k |
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Each of the above functions is discussed fully in a separate lesson in MathRoom Functions.
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finding the rule of correspondence | from data table to rule | from graph to rule |
function rule templates | practice | solutions |
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1) Find the rule of correspondence for a quadratic function (parabola):
a) with vertex at (1, 1) and y-intercept of 5.
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b) with zeros at – 1 and 3, passing through P(7, – 16).
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2) Find the function rule for the absolute value function through (2, 5), (0, 5) and (–1, 7).
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3) The cross section of a riverbed is a parabola, 60 meters wide with a maximum depth of
6 meters. At what distance from the two shores must we place 2 buoys to mark where the depth is 4 meters? (Hint: use the y-axis as the axis of symmetry.)
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finding the rule of correspondence | from data table to rule | from graph to rule |
function rule templates | practice | solutions |
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1) Find the rule of correspondence for a quadratic function (parabola):
a) with vertex at (1, 1) and y-intercept of 5.
f (x) = a( x – 1 )^{ 2} + 1
5 = a( 0 – 1 )^{ 2} + 1 u a = 4
f (x) = 4( x – 1 )^{ 2} + 1
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b) with zeros at – 1 and 3, passing through P(7, – 16).
Since the zeros are – 1 and 3, we'll use the zeros form of the function rule.
f (x) = a(x – x_{1})( x – x_{2}) gives us f (x) = a(x + 1)(x – 3)
Now we'll substitute the coordinates of P to solve for "a"
–16 = a(7 + 1)(7 – 3), so we find a = – ½
so f (x) = – ½ (x + 1) (x – 3) in zeros form.
If we want another form, we simply do the algebra.
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2) Note that (2, 5) and (0, 5) have the same y-value. Therefore, due to the symmetry of the graph, we know that h, the x-coordinate of the vertex, is midway between the x-values 2 and 0.
Thus, h = 1, so now we only have to find k and a to complete the question.
We set up 2 equations in 2 unknowns (a and k) and solve.
Using the points (0, 5) and (–1, 7) we get:
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3) A diagram will help immensely here.
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finding the rule of correspondence | from data table to rule | from graph to rule |
function rule templates | practice | solutions |
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