# 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 used mathematical principles across academics, particularly in chemistry, physics and finance.

It’s most often applied when talking about velocity, although it has multiple uses across various industries. Because of its usefulness, this formula is something that students should understand.

This article will discuss 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 describes the change of one figure when compared to another. In every day terms, it's utilized to identify the average speed of a change over a specific period of time.

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

R = Δy / Δx

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

The change through the numerator and denominator is represented by the greek letter Δ, read as delta y and delta x. It is additionally 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 numbers in a X Y axis, is helpful when talking about differences in value A when compared to value B.

The straight line that connects 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 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. 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 have discussed the slope formula and what the figures mean, finding the average rate of change of the function is feasible.

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

### Step 1: Determine Your Values

In these equations, math scenarios generally offer you two sets of values, from which you will get x and y values.

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

In this scenario, then you have to locate the values via the x and y-axis. Coordinates are typically given in an (x, y) format, as in this example:

x1 = 1

x2 = 3

y1 = 2

y2 = 4

### Step 2: Subtract The Values

Find 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 input the values as follows.

R = 4 - 2 / 3 - 1

### Step 3: Simplify

With all of our values in place, all that is left is to simplify the equation by deducting all the numbers. Thus, our equation then becomes the following.

R = 4 - 2 / 3 - 1

R = 2 / 2

R = 1

As shown, just by replacing all our values and simplifying the equation, we get 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 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 because of the distinct 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 Cartesian plane value.

### Negative Slope

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

Every so often, 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 graph.

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

### Positive Slope

At the same time, a positive slope means that the object’s rate of change is positive. This tells us that the object is increasing in value, and the secant line is trending upward from left to right. With regards to our last example, if an object has positive velocity and its position is ascending.

## Examples of Average Rate of Change

Next, we will talk about the average rate of change formula via some examples.

### Example 1

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

In the given example, all we need to do is a simple substitution since the delta values are already provided.

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 axis.

For this example, we still have to look 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 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, 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 substitute 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

## Grade Potential Can Help You Get a Grip on Math

Math can be a difficult topic to learn, but it doesn’t have to be.

With Grade Potential, you can get set up with an expert tutor that will give you personalized guidance tailored to your capabilities. With the quality of our teaching services, working with equations is as easy as one-two-three.

Book now!