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Thinking Visually
• An axis is the scale which measures the distance along one dimension, either width, height, or depth.
• The origin is the point where the axes of a system intersect.
• A horizontal axis measures horizontal distance from the origin on a plane. It is usually designated by x and is referred to
as the x-axis.
• A vertical axis measures vertical distance from the origin on a plane. It is usually designated by y and is referred to as the
• A plane is a level surface usually considered to have width and height but no depth. A plane is created whenever two axes
• A point is a specific location with no width, height, or depth on a surface. Its designation and location are given by the
ordered pair (x,y) which gives the measurements for both its horizontal and its vertical location from the origin on the plane.
• Plotting a point is the process of locating a point on an axis system.
• A line is the straight path that passes through and beyond two specific points.
• A circle is a completely symmetrical figure which is composed of all the points a fixed distance from a specific point.

Most of our graphing is done on a plane (level surface) with

an x-axis and an y-axis. The distance is measured from the

Any point can be located by stating its coordinates (x,y) which

describe its location as x units from the origin horizontally
and then y units vertically.

For example, this is the point (5,2). That means it is located

horizontally 5 units to the right of the origin and vertically 2
units above the origin.

Only one point will have this exact location.

You can also graph a line. Each line has a graph which
describes its unique path across the axis system.

We can also find an equation for figures on the axis plane.

In this example, a circle is shown. It will have an equation
that uniquely describes its size and location on the surface. © Thinkwell Corp. 1