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How to find slope of a line

How to find the slope of a line is an important math concept for the 2014 GED math test.  In my experience, I have found that by the time students study the math needed for the GED test, they skim over this aspect of the math. Therefore, I take an extra effort and spend some time with them individually so that they have a general idea.

I teach them how to find the slope with two given points.  Unless the points are given to them, they should identify two points on the line. Next, they should label their points y1, y2, x1, x2, keeping each label with its corresponding pair. and then plug them into the point slope formula. y = mx + b

finding slope from two points

calulating slope from two points

I also teach them how to look at a coordinate grid that already has a line on it and identify slope using the rise/run method. Identify a point on the line, rise up and then run over to the next point.

finding slope using rise over run

finding slope using rise over run

I teach them how to look at an equation in the slope intercept form and identify the slope and y-intercept.  From that information, they can also draw the line on a coordinate grid. If the equation is not in the correct form, go through as many examples as necessary until they “get’ it.

slope of an equation

Finally, find some real life examples of using slope so that they understand the need to learn this skill. For example, if a person needs to connect a ramp to their home to make it wheel chair accessible, the slope of the ramp is important.


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