# 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 math formulas across academics, specifically in chemistry, physics and finance.

It’s most often used when discussing thrust, although it has many uses across different industries. Because of its value, this formula is something that students should learn.

This article will share the rate of change formula and how you can work with them.

## Average Rate of Change Formula

In mathematics, the average rate of change formula denotes the variation of one value in relation to another. In practice, it's utilized to define the average speed of a variation over a specified period of time.

At its simplest, the rate of change formula is expressed as:

R = Δy / Δx

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

The variation through the numerator and denominator is portrayed by the greek letter Δ, expressed as delta y and delta x. It is also denoted as the variation between the first point and the second point of the value, or:

Δy = y2 - y1

Δx = x2 - x1

Consequently, the average rate of change equation can also be portrayed as:

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

## Average Rate of Change = Slope

Plotting out these figures in a Cartesian plane, is helpful when reviewing dissimilarities in value A when compared to value B.

The straight line that links these two points is 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 summation, in a linear function, the average rate of change among two values is the same as 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. In the meantime, 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 have discussed the slope formula and what the figures mean, finding the average rate of change of the function is achievable.

To make studying this principle easier, here are the steps you must keep in mind to find the average rate of change.

### Step 1: Find Your Values

In these equations, math problems typically give you two sets of values, from which you solve to find x and y values.

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

In this situation, then you have to search for the values on the x and y-axis. Coordinates are generally provided in an (x, y) format, as in this example:

x1 = 1

x2 = 3

y1 = 2

y2 = 4

### Step 2: Subtract The Values

Calculate the Δx and Δy values. As you can recollect, 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 plug-in the values as follows.

R = 4 - 2 / 3 - 1

### Step 3: Simplify

With all of our values inputted, all that we have to do is to simplify the equation by deducting all the numbers. Therefore, our equation then becomes the following.

R = 4 - 2 / 3 - 1

R = 2 / 2

R = 1

As stated, by simply replacing all our values and simplifying the equation, we obtain the average rate of change for the two coordinates that we were given.

## Average Rate of Change of a Function

As we’ve stated previously, the rate of change is relevant to numerous diverse situations. 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 follows a similar principle but with a different formula because of the unique values that functions have. This formula is:

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

In this case, the values given will have one f(x) equation and one X Y graph value.

### Negative Slope

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

Every so often, the equation results in a slope that is negative. This indicates that the line is descending from left to right in the Cartesian plane.

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

### Positive Slope

On the contrary, a positive slope means that the object’s rate of change is positive. This tells us that the object is gaining value, and the secant line is trending upward from left to right. In relation to our last example, if an object has positive velocity and its position is ascending.

## Examples of Average Rate of Change

Now, 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 this example, all we need to do is a straightforward substitution because the delta values are already provided.

R = Δy / Δx

R = 10 / 2

R = 5

### Example 2

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

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

R = y2 - y1 / x2 - x1

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

R = 8 / 2

R = 4

As you can see, the average rate of change is identical to the slope of the line linking two points.

### Example 3

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

The third example will be extracting 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, solve for the values of the functions in the equation. In this instance, we simply replace 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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