Mathematics » Systems of Linear Equations I » Solve Systems of Equations by Graphing

Solving Systems of Equations By Graphing Key Concepts

Key Concepts

  • To solve a system of linear equations by graphing
    1. Graph the first equation.
    2. Graph the second equation on the same rectangular coordinate system.
    3. Determine whether the lines intersect, are parallel, or are the same line.
    4. Identify the solution to the system.
      If the lines intersect, identify the point of intersection. Check to make sure it is a solution to both equations. This is the solution to the system.
      If the lines are parallel, the system has no solution.
      If the lines are the same, the system has an infinite number of solutions.
    5. Check the solution in both equations.
  • Determine the number of solutions from the graph of a linear system
    This table has two columns and four rows. The first row labels each column “Graph” and “Number of solutions.” Under “Graph” are “2 intersecting lines,” “Parallel lines,” and “Same line.” Under “Number of solutions” are “1,” “None,” and “Infinitely many.”
  • Determine the number of solutions of a linear system by looking at the slopes and intercepts
    This table is entitled “Number of Solutions of a Linear System of Equations.” There are four columns. The columns are labeled, “Slopes,” “Intercepts,” “Type of Lines,” “Number of Solutions.” Under “Slopes” are “Different,” “Same,” and “Same.” Under “Intercepts,” the first cell is blank, then the words “Different” and “Same” appear. Under “Types of Lines” are the words, “Intersecting,” “Parallel,” and “Coincident.” Under “Number of Solutions” are “1 point,” “No Solution,” and “Infinitely many solutions.”
  • Determine the number of solutions and how to classify a system of equations
    This table has four columns and four rows. The columns are labeled, “Lines,” “Intersecting,” “Parallel,” and “Coincident.” In the first row under the labeled column “lines” it reads “Number of solutions.” Reading across, it tell us that an intersecting line contains 1 point, a parallel line provides no solution, and a coincident line has infinitely many solutions. A consistent/inconsistent line has consistent lines if they are intersecting, inconsistent lines if they are parallel and consistent if the lines are coincident. Finally, dependent and independent lines are considered independent if the lines intersect, they are also independent if the lines are parallel, and they are dependent if the lines are coincident.
  • Problem Solving Strategy for Systems of Linear Equations
    1. Read the problem. Make sure all the words and ideas are understood.
    2. Identify what we are looking for.
    3. Name what we are looking for. Choose variables to represent those quantities.
    4. Translate into a system of equations.
    5. Solve the system of equations using good algebra techniques.
    6. Check the answer in the problem and make sure it makes sense.
    7. Answer the question with a complete sentence.


coincident lines

Coincident lines are lines that have the same slope and same y-intercept.

consistent system

A consistent system of equations is a system of equations with at least one solution.

dependent equations

Two equations are dependent if all the solutions of one equation are also solutions of the other equation.

inconsistent system

An inconsistent system of equations is a system of equations with no solution.

independent equations

Two equations are independent if they have different solutions.

solutions of a system of equations

Solutions of a system of equations are the values of the variables that make all the equations true. A solution of a system of two linear equations is represented by an ordered pair (x, y).

system of linear equations

When two or more linear equations are grouped together, they form a system of linear equations.

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