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Does graphing equations ever stop?

  1. Jan 19, 2011 #1
    Currently in calculus high school level and everytime i graph an equation, i want to shoot myself. It's the most boring thing in the world to do. Does it get worse if i want to get myself into math? Does graphing ever stop?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 19, 2011 #2
    Graphing by hand, you mean? It's often useful to see what a function looks like on a graph, but there are programs that do it for you. I assume right now, you're doing it by hand just to get a feel for what the first derivative and the second derivative do to a function. Mins, maxes, inflection points, etc.

    So yeah, the graphing by hand stops, but the experience you gain from doing that will always be useful, as long as you do anything with functions.
  4. Jan 19, 2011 #3


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    hi kramer733! :smile:

    yes it stops once you leave school

    (sometimes you may have to roughly sketch a graph, for example if they ask you to find the volume between two surfaces, but you won't need to do it accurately)

    i'm afraid it's one of the things that are useful to learn at school so that you know how they work later :wink:
  5. Jan 19, 2011 #4
    Yes, high school made me waste $100 on a TI when I can just use Maple or Mathematica...
  6. Jan 19, 2011 #5
    Not to get off topic, but as computing power has gotten better and cheaper, why hasn't the cost of TI calculators gone down? It's almost to the point where I could build a handheld computer to run mathematica for less than buying a TI-89.
  7. Jan 19, 2011 #6
    The same question goes for "why are textbooks so expensive when we can just download them from the Internet"
  8. Jan 19, 2011 #7


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    Often times when you have a non-algebraic equation that you cannot solve exactly, the next best method is to simply graph it. So, since the equations you run into get more and more difficult as you advance in mathematics and physics, you actually use this technique more and more often.
  9. Jan 19, 2011 #8
    No, but you usually can use a computer to do the graphing.

    Also after you've done it enough, you don't have to graph things point by point. If you give me a polynomial equation, I can pretty much sketch out what the graph looks like, without going through point by point.

    What is an important skill, which you can pick up is to be able to look at the equation and then quickly draw the graph on a sheet of graph paper without doing it point by point.

    Also something that you should try to do if you get bored is to figure out patterns so that you can do the graph quickly. For example, if you have an equation of the form ax+b, then you should be able to figure out that once you've graphed two points, you are done.
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