6 min readβ’january 23, 2023

ethan_bilderbeek

In Calculus, it is important to understand that limits can be represented in multiple ways, including numerical, graphical, and algebraic representation. Each representation provides a different perspective on the behavior of a function as x approaches a specific value. In this guide, we will discuss how to connect multiple representations of limits to gain a more complete understanding of the concept of limits.

The first representation of limits is numerical representation. This is the most common method used to determine limits, and involves plugging in different values of x that are close to the limit and seeing what the y-value approaches. For example, if we want to find the limit as x approaches 2 of the function f(x) = x^2, we can create a table of values and plug in x-values such as 1.9, 1.99, 1.999, etc. and see what the y-values approach. This method can give us an approximation of the limit, but it is not an exact solution.

The second representation of limits is graphical representation. This method involves plotting the function on a graph and observing the behavior of the function as x approaches the limit. For example, if we want to find the limit as x approaches 2 of the function f(x) = x^2, we can plot the function on a graph and observe what the y-value approaches as x approaches 2. This method can provide a visual representation of the limit, but it is also not an exact solution.

The third representation of limits is algebraic representation. This method involves using algebraic manipulation to determine the limit. For example, if we want to find the limit as x approaches 2 of the function f(x) = (x^2 - 4) / (x - 2), we can use factoring or conjugates to cancel out the denominator and determine the limit. This method can provide an exact solution for the limit.

To connect multiple representations of limits, we can use the information from each representation to gain a more complete understanding of the behavior of the function as x approaches the limit. For example, we can use the numerical representation to approximate the limit, and then confirm our answer by observing the graphical representation. We can also use the algebraic representation to determine the exact limit, and then confirm our answer by observing the numerical and graphical representations.

It's worth noting that, especially when dealing with more complex functions, one representation may be more informative than the others. When we have a function that is difficult to manipulate algebraically, graph representation can be very useful to understand the behavior of the function. In other situations, having an algebraic representation may be more important, for instance when working with abstract equations.

To practice connecting multiple representations of limits, you can try working through examples from your textbook, online resources such as Khan Academy, or by using interactive tools such as calculators or computer programs. You can also try creating your own examples and working through them to get a better understanding of the process.

In summary, limits can be represented in multiple ways including numerical, graphical, and algebraic representation. By connecting multiple representations of limits, we can gain a more complete understanding of the behavior of a function as x approaches a specific value. With practice and persistence, you will become proficient at connecting multiple representations of limits and will be well on your way to success in your studies of calculus.

Example 1: Determine the limit as x approaches 2 of the function f(x) = x^3 - 4x^2 + 3x - 6 using numerical, graphical, and algebraic representation.

Numerical representation:
Create a table of values with x-values close to 2, such as 1.9, 1.99, 1.999, etc. and see what the y-values of f(x) approach as x approaches 2.

Graphical representation:
Plot the function on a graph and observe what the y-value of f(x) approaches as x approaches 2.

Algebraic representation:
Use factoring to simplify the function and determine the limit.

Answer: The limit as x approaches 2 of the function f(x) = x^3 - 4x^2 + 3x - 6 is -2.

Example 2: Determine the limit as x approaches 1 of the function f(x) = (x^3 - 1) / (x - 1) using numerical, graphical, and algebraic representation.

Numerical representation:
Create a table of values with x-values close to 1, such as 0.9, 0.99, 0.999, etc. and see what the y-values of f(x) approach as x approaches 1.

Graphical representation:
Plot the function on a graph and observe what the y-value of f(x) approaches as x approaches 1.

Algebraic representation:
Use factoring to simplify the function and determine the limit.

Answer: The limit as x approaches 1 of the function f(x) = (x^3 - 1) / (x - 1) is 1.

Example 3: Determine the limit as x approaches -2 of the function f(x) = (x^2 + 4x + 4) / (x + 2) using numerical, graphical, and algebraic representation.

Numerical representation:
Create a table of values with x-values close to -2, such as -1.9, -1.99, -1.999, etc. and see what the y-values of f(x) approach as x approaches -2.

Graphical representation:
Plot the function on a graph and observe what the y-value of f(x) approaches as x approaches -2.

Algebraic representation:
Use factoring to simplify the function and determine the limit.

Answer: The limit as x approaches -2 of the function f(x) = (x^2 + 4x + 4) / (x + 2) is 2.

Example 5: Determine the limit as x approaches infinity of the function f(x) = 1 / x using numerical, graphical, and algebraic representation.

Numerical representation:
Create a table of values with x-values large values, such as 1000, 10000, 100000, etc. and see what the y-values of f(x)

approach as x approaches infinity.

Graphical representation:
Plot the function on a graph and observe what the y-value of f(x) approaches as x approaches infinity.

Algebraic representation:
Use algebraic manipulation to simplify the function and determine the limit.

Answer: The limit as x approaches infinity of the function f(x) = 1 / x is 0.

Example 6: Determine the limit as x approaches -infinity of the function f(x) = x^2 + 3x + 2 using numerical, graphical, and algebraic representation.

Numerical representation:
Create a table of values with x-values large negative values, such as -1000, -10000, -100000, etc. and see what the y-values of f(x) approach as x approaches -infinity.

Graphical representation:
Plot the function on a graph and observe what the y-value of f(x) approaches as x approaches -infinity.

Algebraic representation:

Use algebraic manipulation to simplify the function and determine the limit.

Answer: As x approaches -infinity, the function f(x) = x^2 + 3x + 2 goes towards infinity, thus limit does not exist.

These examples should give you a good idea of how to connect multiple representations of limits. Remember that practice and persistence are key to becoming proficient in this skill.

In conclusion, understanding how to connect multiple representations of limits is a crucial skill in Calculus. By using numerical, graphical, and algebraic representations, we can gain a more complete understanding of the behavior of a function as x approaches a specific value. Numerical representation is the most common method used to determine limits, and involves plugging in different values of x that are close to the limit and seeing what the y-value approaches. Graphical representation involves plotting the function on a graph and observing the behavior of the function as x approaches the limit. Algebraic representation involves using algebraic manipulation to determine the limit. By connecting multiple representations of limits, we can confirm our answers and gain a deeper understanding of the concepts. With practice and persistence, you will become proficient at connecting multiple representations of limits and will be well on your way to success in your studies of calculus.

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