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GCSE Maths Algebra Inequalities

Inequalities On A Graph

Inequalities On A Graph

Here we will learn about inequalities on a graph, including horizontal lines, vertical lines, systems of inequalities and shading regions.

There are also inequalities on a graph worksheets based on Edexcel, AQA and OCR exam questions, along with further guidance on where to go next if you’re still stuck.

What are inequalities on a graph?

Inequalities on a graph allow us to visualise the regions that satisfy one or more inequalities.

In GCSE mathematics these inequalities are often linear and can be expressed using straight line graphs. You may have to use graphs already provided to find solutions to the inequalities or you may need to draw lines and indicate a region that satisfies the system of inequalities.

To do this we use the linear equations to plot straight line graphs using either a solid line or a dashed line.

A solid line means the line is included.

A dotted line means the line is not included.

This is similar to using the solid (or closed) circle and open circles when displaying inequalities on a number line.

It is important to indicate the region required using the method requested in the question.

The question may ask you to shade a region required, it may ask you to indicate the region with a letter or it may ask you to indicate integer coordinates that satisfy a system of inequalities with crosses. 

To get the correct region, think about what coordinates will satisfy the inequality.

For horizontal inequality lines in the form y < a or y > a, you need to think about what the y coordinate could be.

For lines that are not vertical or horizontal you can use the same thinking to find the correct region.

Step-by-step guide: How to plot a straight line graph

What are inequalities on a graph?

What are inequalities on a graph?

System of inequalities

For a system of inequalities you need to draw the regions that satisfy all of the inequalities stated.

For example,

Inequalities on a graph image 4

In A level mathematics, more complicated functions such as quadratic equations or trigonometric functions may feature in inequalities questions. In A level further mathematics, systems of linear inequalities are solved in a topic called linear programming.

How to use inequalities on a graph

In order to use inequalities on a graph:

  1. Find a set of coordinates that satisfy a line given by the inequality.
  2. Join the points using a dashed line for \textbf{< / >} or a solid line for \bf{\leq / \geq.}
  3. Indicate the points that satisfy the inequality.

Explain how to use inequalities on a graph

Explain how to use inequalities on a graph

Inequalities on a graph worksheet

Get your free inequalities on a graph worksheet of 20+ questions and answers. Includes reasoning and applied questions.

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Inequalities on a graph worksheet

Get your free inequalities on a graph worksheet of 20+ questions and answers. Includes reasoning and applied questions.

COMING SOON

Related lessons on inequalities

Inequalities on a graph is part of our series of lessons to support revision on inequalities. You may find it helpful to start with the main inequalities lesson for a summary of what to expect, or use the step by step guides below for further detail on individual topics. Other lessons in this series include:

Inequalities on a graph examples

Example 1: shading a region for a single inequality

Shade the region that satisfies the inequality x>-4.

  1. Find a set of coordinates that satisfy a line given by the inequality.

You need points on the line x>-4.

Such as, (-4,-3), \ (-4,0), \ (-4,2), ...

Inequalities on a graph example 1 image 1

2Join the points using a dashed line for \textbf{< / >} or a solid line for \bf{\leq / \geq.}

x>-4 will require a dashed line.

Inequalities on a graph example 1 image 2

3Indicate the points that satisfy the inequality.

We want the values of x that are greater than -4, so shade the right hand side of the line.

Inequalities on a graph example 1 image 3

Example 2: shade a region between two inequalities

Shade the region that satisfies the inequality -3\le y<1 .

You need points on the line y=-3 and y=1.


Inequalities on a graph example 2 image 1

Join the points on y=-3 with a solid line and the points on y=1 with a dashed line.


Inequalities on a graph example 2 image 2

You are looking for y values between -3 and 1, so shade the region in between the two lines.


Inequalities on a graph example 2 image 3

Example 3: shade the region for an inequality with a line in the form y = mx + c

Shade the region that satisfies y\ge 2x-1.

Make a table of values for the line y=2x-1.


x -1 0 1 2
y -3 -1 1 3

Plot the points and join with a solid line for the \geq symbol.


Inequalities on a graph example 3 image 1

y needs to be greater than or equal to 2x-1, so y needs to be large. Shade above the line.


Inequalities on a graph example 3 image 2


To check you have shaded the correct region, you can check that a point in the region satisfies the inequality. It doesn’t matter which point you pick, but choose integer coordinates to make the check easier.


Here let’s check the point (1,3). Substitute these values:


\begin{aligned} &3 \geq 2(1)-1 \\\\ &3 \geq 2-1 \\\\ &3 \geq 1 \end{aligned}


3 is greater than 1, so this is a true statement and you know you’ve selected the right region.

Example 4: indicate a region for an inequality with a line in the form ax + by = c

Indicate the region that satisfies the inequality 4x+3y < 24 with an R.

The line 4x+3y=24 can be plotted using a table of values or by finding the y intercept and x intercept by substituting x=0 for the y intercept and y=0 for the x intercept.


Step-by-step guide: Plotting graphs (coming soon)


When x=0,


4(0)+3y=24 gives y=8.


When  y=0,


4x+3(0)=24 gives x=6.


The line 4x+3y=24 goes through the points (0,8) and (6,0).


Inequalities on a graph example 4 image 1

Join the points with a dashed line.


Inequalities on a graph example 4 image 2

Using the point (0,0), 4(0)+3(0)<24.

Therefore, (0,0) satisfies the inequality.


Write an R under the line.


Inequalities on a graph example 4 image 3

Example 5: indicating a region that satisfies a system of inequalities

Mark with a cross (x) the integer coordinates that satisfy

x+y>5, \ x<2 and y\le 7 .

x+y=5 goes through the points (0,5), \ (1,4), \ (2,3) etc..


x=2 is a vertical line through (2,0).


y=7 is a horizontal line through (0,7).

Plot the points and lines using dashed lines for x+y>5 and x<2 and a solid line for y \leq 7.


Inequalities on a graph example 5 image 1

x+y>5 means the integer coordinates must be above x+y=5.


x<2 means the integer coordinates must be the the left of x=2.


y \leq 7 means the integer coordinates must be on or below y=7.


Inequalities on a graph example 5 image 2

Common misconceptions

  • Indicating the wrong side of the line with equations involving \bf{y}

It is common to indicate the wrong side of the line that satisfies an inequality involving the variable y. The sight of a positive y> means it will be above the line, a positive y< means it will be below the line.

  • Using the wrong type of line

When drawing lines it is important to use a dashed line for inequalities using the symbol < or >. There may be questions using these symbols with solid lines already drawn – this sort of question will usually want you to indicate integer coordinates that satisfy the inequality.

  • Indicating that points on a dashed line will satisfy the inequality

When we’re dealing with inequalities that are strictly less than or greater than (indicated by the symbol < or > ), the points on the line are not included.

Practice inequalities on a graph questions

1. The diagram shows a shaded region satisfying an inequality.

 

Inequalities on a graph practice question 1

 

Select the correct inequality.

y\leq 3
GCSE Quiz False

x > 3
GCSE Quiz False

y < 3
GCSE Quiz True

y > 3
GCSE Quiz False

It is a horizontal dashed line and the region is below the line.

2. The diagram shows a shaded region satisfying an inequality.

 

Inequalities on a graph practice question 2

 

Select the correct inequality.

x\leq-4
GCSE Quiz False

x >-4
GCSE Quiz False

y >-4
GCSE Quiz False

x\geq-4
GCSE Quiz True

It is a vertical solid line and the region is to the right of the line.

3. The diagram shows a shaded region satisfying an inequality.

 

Inequalities on a graph practice question 3

 

Select the correct inequality.

1 < y <3
GCSE Quiz True

1 < y\leq 3
GCSE Quiz False

1\leq y\leq 3
GCSE Quiz False

1\leq y < 3
GCSE Quiz False

They are both horizontal dashed lines and the region between them is shaded.

4. The diagram shows a shaded region satisfying an inequality. 

 

Inequalities on a graph practice question 4

 

Select the correct inequality.

y < x+3
GCSE Quiz False

y > x+3
GCSE Quiz False

y\leq x+3
GCSE Quiz True

y\geq x+3
GCSE Quiz False

The line is solid and the region is below the line meaning y needs to be small.

5.  Which diagram indicates the region satisfied by the inequalities

 

y\geq x, \ x\leq 4 and y\geq 1 .

Inequalities on a graph practice question 5 image 1

GCSE Quiz False

Inequalities on a graph practice question 5 image 2 correct

GCSE Quiz True

Inequalities on a graph practice question 5 image 3

GCSE Quiz False

Inequalities on a graph practice question 5 image 4

GCSE Quiz False

The region must be above the line y=x, the the left of the line x=4 and above the line y=1.

6. Which diagram indicates the region satisfied by the inequalities

 

y\geq 2, \ 2x+y\leq 4 and x\geq-1 .

Inequalities on a graph practice question 6 image 1 correct

GCSE Quiz True

Inequalities on a graph practice question 6 image 2

GCSE Quiz False

Inequalities on a graph practice question 6 image 3

GCSE Quiz False

Inequalities on a graph practice question 6 image 4

GCSE Quiz False

The region must be below the line 2x+y=4, above the line y=2 and to the right of the line x=-1.

Inequalities on a graph GCSE questions

1. Write down the inequalities that the region R indicates.

 

Inequalities on a graph gcse question 1

 

(3 marks)

Show answer
x \geq 1

(1)

x \geq -1

(1)

x+y \leq 4

(1)

2. On the grid, shade the region that satisfies -2< x \leq 4.

 

Inequalities on a graph gcse question 2

 

(3 marks)

Show answer

Dashed line drawn for x=-2.

(1)

Solid line drawn for x=4.

(1)

Correct region shaded.

(1)

 

Inequalities on a graph gcse question 2 image 2

3. Mark with a cross (x) the integer coordinates that satisfy

 

y<2x, \ x+y<3 and y>-2.

 

(5 marks)

Show answer

Correct line drawn for y=2x (dashed or solid).

(1)

Correct line drawn for y=-2 (dashed or solid).

(1)

Correct line drawn for x+y=3 (dashed or solid).

(1)

Any 2 correct points indicated.

(1)

All correct points indicated.

(1)

 

Inequalities on a graph gcse question 3

Learning checklist

You have now learned how to:

  • Represent the solution set to a linear inequality, or system of linear inequalities on a graph
  • Use a graph to solve systems of linear inequalities

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