# Rate of Change Formula - What Is the Rate of Change Formula? Examples

# Rate of Change Formula - What Is the Rate of Change Formula? Examples

The rate of change formula is one of the most important mathematical principles across academics, especially in physics, chemistry and accounting.

It’s most often utilized when talking about thrust, although it has numerous uses throughout different industries. Because of its utility, this formula is something that students should learn.

This article will go over the rate of change formula and how you can solve it.

## Average Rate of Change Formula

In mathematics, the average rate of change formula shows the variation of one value in relation to another. In practical terms, it's utilized to determine the average speed of a change over a specific period of time.

Simply put, the rate of change formula is written as:

R = Δy / Δx

This calculates the change of y in comparison to the variation of x.

The variation within the numerator and denominator is shown by the greek letter Δ, read as delta y and delta x. It is also expressed as the difference within the first point and the second point of the value, or:

Δy = y2 - y1

Δx = x2 - x1

As a result, the average rate of change equation can also be portrayed as:

R = (y2 - y1) / (x2 - x1)

## Average Rate of Change = Slope

Plotting out these numbers in a X Y graph, is beneficial when working with differences in value A versus value B.

The straight line that joins these two points is also known as secant line, and the slope of this line is the average rate of change.

Here’s the formula for the slope of a line:

y = 2x + 1

In short, in a linear function, the average rate of change among two figures is equivalent to the slope of the function.

This is why the average rate of change of a function is the slope of the secant line going through two random endpoints on the graph of the function. Simultaneously, the instantaneous rate of change is the slope of the tangent line at any point on the graph.

## How to Find Average Rate of Change

Now that we know the slope formula and what the figures mean, finding the average rate of change of the function is feasible.

To make studying this topic less complex, here are the steps you need to obey to find the average rate of change.

### Step 1: Find Your Values

In these types of equations, mathematical scenarios usually give you two sets of values, from which you solve to find x and y values.

For example, let’s take the values (1, 2) and (3, 4).

In this scenario, then you have to locate the values along the x and y-axis. Coordinates are usually given in an (x, y) format, like this:

x1 = 1

x2 = 3

y1 = 2

y2 = 4

### Step 2: Subtract The Values

Calculate the Δx and Δy values. As you may recall, the formula for the rate of change is:

R = Δy / Δx

Which then translates to:

R = y2 - y1 / x2 - x1

Now that we have obtained all the values of x and y, we can add the values as follows.

R = 4 - 2 / 3 - 1

### Step 3: Simplify

With all of our numbers plugged in, all that we have to do is to simplify the equation by subtracting all the numbers. Therefore, our equation will look something like this.

R = 4 - 2 / 3 - 1

R = 2 / 2

R = 1

As we can see, by plugging in all our values and simplifying the equation, we achieve the average rate of change for the two coordinates that we were provided.

## Average Rate of Change of a Function

As we’ve shared before, the rate of change is pertinent to numerous different scenarios. The previous examples were more relevant to the rate of change of a linear equation, but this formula can also be relevant for functions.

The rate of change of function observes the same principle but with a distinct formula because of the unique values that functions have. This formula is:

R = (f(b) - f(a)) / b - a

In this scenario, the values provided will have one f(x) equation and one X Y axis value.

### Negative Slope

Previously if you remember, the average rate of change of any two values can be plotted. The R-value, therefore is, equivalent to its slope.

Occasionally, the equation results in a slope that is negative. This indicates that the line is trending downward from left to right in the X Y axis.

This translates to the rate of change is decreasing in value. For example, rate of change can be negative, which results in a declining position.

### Positive Slope

On the other hand, a positive slope indicates that the object’s rate of change is positive. This means that the object is gaining value, and the secant line is trending upward from left to right. With regards to our aforementioned example, if an object has positive velocity and its position is ascending.

## Examples of Average Rate of Change

In this section, we will talk about the average rate of change formula via some examples.

### Example 1

Extract the rate of change of the values where Δy = 10 and Δx = 2.

In the given example, all we have to do is a straightforward substitution since the delta values are already given.

R = Δy / Δx

R = 10 / 2

R = 5

### Example 2

Extract the rate of change of the values in points (1,6) and (3,14) of the X Y graph.

For this example, we still have to search for the Δy and Δx values by employing the average rate of change formula.

R = y2 - y1 / x2 - x1

R = (14 - 6) / (3 - 1)

R = 8 / 2

R = 4

As provided, the average rate of change is the same as the slope of the line linking two points.

### Example 3

Extract the rate of change of function f(x) = x2 + 5x - 3 on the interval [3, 5].

The final example will be calculating the rate of change of a function with the formula:

R = (f(b) - f(a)) / b - a

When finding the rate of change of a function, solve for the values of the functions in the equation. In this instance, we simply substitute the values on the equation using the values provided in the problem.

The interval given is [3, 5], which means that a = 3 and b = 5.

The function parts will be solved by inputting the values to the equation given, such as.

f(a) = (3)2 +5(3) - 3

f(a) = 9 + 15 - 3

f(a) = 24 - 3

f(a) = 21

f(b) = (5)2 +5(5) - 3

f(b) = 25 + 10 - 3

f(b) = 35 - 3

f(b) = 32

Now that we have all our values, all we must do is replace them into our rate of change equation, as follows.

R = (f(b) - f(a)) / b - a

R = 32 - 21 / 5 - 3

R = 11 / 2

R = 11/2 or 5.5

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