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Absolute Value Functions and

Transformations
Content Objectives:
1. To graph an absolute value function by
performing transformations on the parent
2. To apply transformations to graphing any
function

The absolute value


function is defined by 4

f (x) = |x|.
2

The graph of the


absolute value function -5 5

is similar to the linear -2

parent function, except


-4

it must always be
positive.
Building the Absolute Value Function
The absolute value
function is defined by 4

f (x) = |x|.
2

So we just take the


negative portion of the -5 5

graph and reflect it -2

across the x-axis


-4

making that part


positive.

The absolute value


function is defined by 4

f (x) = |x|.
2

This is the absolute value


parent function. -5 5

f(x) = x
-2

-4
Parent Function

• V-shape
• It is symmetric about the y-axis
• The vertex is the minimum point on the
graph

Translations
A translation is a
transformation that
shifts a graph
horizontally or
vertically, but doesn’t
change the overall
shape or orientation.
Stretching and Shrinking
The graph of y = a|x| is graph of y = |x|
vertically stretched or shrunk depending on
the |a|.

The value of a acts like the slope.

Reflections
The graph of y = a|x| is graph of y = |x|
reflected across the x-axis when a < 0.
4 4

f(x) = - x

2 2

-5 5 -5 5

f(x) = x
-2 -2

-4 -4
Multiple Transformations
In general, the graph of an absolute value
function of the form y = a|x – h| + k can
involve translations, reflections, stretches
or shrinks.
To graph an absolute value function, start by
identifying the vertex.

Graphing Absolute Value Functions


Graphing y = a|x – h| + k is simple:

1.Plot the vertex (h, k). (note…if +h inside that


means h is negative, if – h inside that means h is positive)

2.Use the a value as slope to plot


more points. Remember you have to do positive
and negative slope to get points on both sides of the V

3.Connect the dots in a V-shape.


Transformations in General
You can perform transformations on the graph
of any function in manner similar to
transformations on the absolute value
function.