# 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 widely used math formulas across academics, especially in physics, chemistry and accounting.

It’s most often used when discussing velocity, though it has many uses across different industries. Due to its value, this formula is something that students should understand.

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

## Average Rate of Change Formula

In mathematics, the average rate of change formula describes the variation of one value in relation to another. In every day terms, it's utilized to identify the average speed of a variation over a specified period of time.

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

R = Δy / Δx

This calculates the variation of y compared to the change of x.

The change through the numerator and denominator is represented by the greek letter Δ, expressed as delta y and delta x. It is also expressed as the variation 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 shown as:

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

## Average Rate of Change = Slope

Plotting out these values in a X Y axis, is helpful when reviewing dissimilarities in value A when compared to value B.

The straight line that links these two points is called the 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 summation, in a linear function, the average rate of change between two figures is equal to the slope of the function.

This is mainly why average rate of change of a function is the slope of the secant line passing through two random endpoints on the graph of the function. At the same time, 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 understand the slope formula and what the figures mean, finding the average rate of change of the function is feasible.

To make grasping this concept easier, here are the steps you should keep in mind to find the average rate of change.

### Step 1: Understand Your Values

In these sort of equations, mathematical scenarios generally offer you two sets of values, from which you extract x and y values.

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

In this scenario, then you have to find the values via the x and y-axis. Coordinates are typically provided 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 inputted, all that we have to do is to simplify the equation by deducting all the numbers. Thus, our equation will look something like this.

R = 4 - 2 / 3 - 1

R = 2 / 2

R = 1

As we can see, just by plugging in all our values and simplifying the equation, we obtain 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 applicable to multiple diverse scenarios. The aforementioned examples were applicable to the rate of change of a linear equation, but this formula can also be used in functions.

The rate of change of function follows the same principle but with a different formula due to the different values that functions have. This formula is:

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

In this scenario, the values given will have one f(x) equation and one Cartesian plane value.

### Negative Slope

As you might recollect, the average rate of change of any two values can be plotted. The R-value, is, identical to its slope.

Occasionally, the equation concludes in a slope that is negative. This indicates that the line is trending downward from left to right in the Cartesian plane.

This means that the rate of change is diminishing in value. For example, rate of change can be negative, which means a decreasing position.

### Positive Slope

At the same time, a positive slope indicates that the object’s rate of change is positive. This shows us that the object is gaining value, and the secant line is trending upward from left to right. In terms of our last example, if an object has positive velocity and its position is ascending.

## Examples of Average Rate of Change

Next, we will discuss the average rate of change formula through some examples.

### Example 1

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

In the given example, all we must do is a plain substitution since the delta values are already specified.

R = Δy / Δx

R = 10 / 2

R = 5

### Example 2

Find the rate of change of the values in points (1,6) and (3,14) of the Cartesian plane.

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 given, the average rate of change is equivalent to 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 third example will be finding the rate of change of a function with the formula:

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

When extracting the rate of change of a function, calculate the values of the functions in the equation. In this situation, we simply substitute the values on the equation using the values given 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

With all our values, all we need to do is plug in 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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