How to find slope
- Identify the coordinates
(x₂,y₂). We will use the formula to calculate the slope of the line passing through the points
- Input the values into the formula. This gives us
(10 - 8)/(-2 - 3).
- Subtract the values in parentheses to get
- Simplify the fraction to get the slope of
- Check your result using the slope calculator.
To find the slope of a line we need two coordinates on the line. Any two coordinates will suffice. We are basically measuring the amount of change of the y-coordinate, often known as the rise, divided by the change of the x-coordinate, known the the run. The calculations in finding the slope are simple and involves nothing more than basic subtraction and division.
The slope formula
slope = (y₂ - y₁) / (x₂ - x₁)
Notice that the slope of a line is easily calculated by hand using small, whole number coordinates. The formula becomes increasingly useful as the coordinates take on larger values or decimal values.
It is worth mentioning that any horizontal line has a gradient of zero because a horizontal line has the same y-coordinates. This will result in a zero in the numerator of the slope formula. On the other hand, a vertical line will have an undefined slope since the x-coordinates will always be the same. This will result the division by zero error when using the formula.
Other related topics
Just as slope can be calculated using the endpoints of a segment, the midpoint can also be calculated. The midpoint is an important concept in geometry, particularly when inscribing a polygon inside another polygon with the its vertices touching the midpoint of the sides of the larger polygon. This can be obtained using the midpoint calculator or by simply taking the average of each x-coordinates and the average of the y-coordinates to form a new coordinate.
The slopes of lines are important in determining whether or not a triangle is a right triangle. If any two sides of a triangle have slopes that multiply to equal -1, then the triangle is a right triangle. The computations for this can be done by hand or by using the right triangle calculator. You can also use the distance calculator to compute which side of a triangle is the longest, which helps determine which sides must form a right angle if the triangle is right.
The sign in front of the gradient provided by the slope calculator indicates whether the line is increasing, decreasing, constant or undefined. If the graph of the line moves from lower left to upper right it is increasing and is therefore positive. If it decreases when moving from the upper left to lower right, then the gradient is negative.