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Interpret Real Life Reciprocal Graphs

In this worksheet, students will practise interpreting real life situations that lead to a reciprocal graph.

'Interpret Real Life Reciprocal Graphs' worksheet

Key stage:  KS 4

Year:  GCSE

GCSE Subjects:   Maths

GCSE Boards:   AQA, Eduqas, OCR, Pearson Edexcel,

Curriculum topic:   Algebra, Graphs of Equations and Functions

Curriculum subtopic:   Graphs Graphs of Equations and Functions

Difficulty level:  

Worksheet Overview

It quite often happens in a GCSE exam that you will be expected to deal with graphs that show real life situations.

In this activity, we will deal exclusively with reciprocal graphs.


What is a reciprocal graph?

A reciprocal graph is any graph that has the form f(x) =  a/x or 1/x

This will give the graph that looks something like this:


 a reciprocal graph



Water is poured out of a beaker.

The volume left in the beaker is plotted against time.


 a reciprocal graph


Describe the relationship between the time and the volume of water left in the beaker.

All this question is asking for is a statement about whether the volume is increasing or decreasing.

For this example, we can say that as time increases, the volume of water decreases.


 At what time is there 2 litres left in the beaker?

 How much water is left in the beaker after 1 minute?

Both of these can be done by using the graph line to convert between the two values:


a conversion graph


Reading from the graph, there are 2 litres left after 2 minutes and after 1 minute, there are approximately 3.5 litres left.


Time for some questions now.

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