An eighth grader, when you ask them the most complex thing they have learned so far, the most common answer will probably be their algebra class. However, I believe that this doesn’t have to be this way. Using simple questions, the equations and formulas will be much easier to explain.
Now first we go to graphing linear equations. Now, say you’re graphing the following equation:
Anybody under 12 would freak out if they had to graph this. However, it is not that hard. Before I can go deep into explaining, let’s go to programming.
In programming, there is a very common statement many coders use to verify things, called the “if statement.” It says that if something happens, then do this. Coders use this statement when, for example, in a tapper game you want to buy an upgrade that costs you some “coins.” If the player has enough coins, they can buy the upgrade. If they can’t then nothing happens.
Now, back to algebra. Use the same formula above and think, if “y” equals 0, the what does “x” equal?
0 = x – 5
0 = 5 – 5
x = 5
Using the following values, knowing, x equals 5 and y equal 0, then we can make a coordinate (5, 0). If you repeat this process, then you get a row of points lining up and you get your graph, which looks like this:
The same can be said with any other equation, like a quadratic or a cubic equation.
For example, let’s say we have this equation:
y = x^2 + 4
Now, let’s do the same thing, but, to make it easier, we switch the variable it equals.
If x equals 0…
y = 0^2 + 4
y = 4
A point! (0, 4).
If x equals 1…
y = 1^2 + 4
y = 1 + 4
y = 5
Point: (1, 5)
The same must be for -1 because -1^2 is the same as 1^2, so we know the y-value is still 5.
If x equals 2…
y = 2^2 + 4
y = 4 + 4
y = 8
Point: (2, 8)
Again, the same must be for the negative 2 because -2^2 and 2^2 are the same expression. Here’s the graph:
Even though algebra may have a bad vibe about it, we still learn and know it. Using a simple explanation, this subject may become easier to learn. Do not fright, eighth graders of the world. Maybe a different view will change your minds about a subject so vast.