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How to Find the Slope Of a Line

Whether you're doing your math homework or trying to figure out how steep a mountain is, the slope of a line is simple to calculate and has many practical uses.

Instructions

  • Step 1: Graph the line whose slope you are measuring Use graph paper to graph the line whose slope you are measuring. Draw the line on standard x-and y-axis.
  • Step 2: Select two points on the line Select two points on the line. Calculate where each point falls on the x- and y-axis to determine the exact points.
  • TIP: Write these points as ordered pairs – two numbers inside parentheses. First the x point, and then the y.
  • Step 3: Subtract the y-axis locations of the two points Subtract the y-axis location of the first point from the y-axis location of the second point. The difference is called the "rise."
  • Step 4: Subtract the x-axis locations of the two points Subtract the x-axis location of the first point from the x-axis location of the second point. This difference is called the "run."
  • TIP: Pay attention to negative and positive numbers. A negative slope means the line travels downward, while a positive slope means it rises.
  • Step 5: Divide the rise by the run to find the slope Divide the rise in the y-axis by the run in the x-axis to find the slope of your line, an exact measurement of just how steep it is.
  • FACT: Did you know? Mount Everest was named after Sir George Everest, the surveyor who used mathematical equations to calculate the location and height of the world's tallest mountain.

You Will Need

  • Graph paper
  • A pencil
  • Basic math skills

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