Derivative Examples

Q:  If f(x) = 3x – 12, what if f'(x)?


A:  A combination of a power rule and a constant rule.

(1)  The derivative of any constant (any plain old number) is 0.  Why?  Think about a constant graph y = 7, say.  This is a flat line.  What is the slope (derivative) of a flat line? 0!

(2) What is the derivative of 3x?  Use the power rule!  3x^1… Bring down the 1 as a multiplier and subtract 1 from the exponent: 1*3x^(1-1) = 3x^0 = 3.  Remember, x^0 = 1 (or anything to the zero power for that matter).

Combining these concepts:

f(x) = 3x – 12 [Take the derivative of each part separately: the derivative of 3x and the derivative of 12]

f'(x) = 3 – 0 = 3.

One thought on “Derivative Examples

  1. Also, think of the graph: f(x) = 3x – 12. What shape is this? This is a line, right? Fits the form y = mx + b. So, what is the slope of the line y = 3x – 12? It is 3! The derivative is 3.

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