How to Use Scatter Plots to Solve Word Problems

An error occurred trying to load this video.

Try refreshing the page, or contact customer support.

Coming up next: Solving Word Problems with Algebraic Addition Expressions

You're on a roll. Keep up the good work!

Take Quiz Watch Next Lesson
Your next lesson will play in 10 seconds
  • 0:00 A Scatter Plot
  • 1:40 A Word Problem
  • 2:20 Using the Scatter Plot
  • 3:50 Example
  • 4:40 Lesson Summary
Save Save Save

Want to watch this again later?

Log in or sign up to add this lesson to a Custom Course.

Log in or Sign up

Speed Speed

Recommended Lessons and Courses for You

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Yuanxin (Amy) Yang Alcocer

Amy has a master's degree in secondary education and has taught math at a public charter high school.

Watch this video lesson to learn how you can use a scatter plot to help you solve a word problem. You will see how easy it becomes to solve your problem once you have your scatter plot.

A Scatter Plot

In this lesson, you will learn how you can use a scatter plot to help you solve a word problem. If you are like most people, then word problems are most likely not your favorite math friend. And this is for a good reason because it can sometimes be hard to visualize a math problem when you only see words. For some problems, you will be able to use a scatter plot to help you solve your problem or one will be provided for you. In either case, this visual aid can make solving much easier.

A scatter plot is a graph with points on it. These points are not connected via lines or curves, and they will have coordinates. The graph is usually the coordinate plane with an x-axis and a y-axis. For example, the following is a scatter plot:

scatter plot

The black horizontal line is the x-axis and the vertical line is the y-axis. Each individual dot on the graph is a data point. Just like with points on the coordinate plane, the points on the scatter plot have the coordinates (x, y), where x is the x-coordinate of the point and y is the y-coordinate of the point. So, the red dot located at (4, 6) has an x-coordinate of 4 and a y-coordinate of 6. This means that this point is located where x is equal to 4 and y is equal to 6. You would plot points on the scatter plot the same way you graph them on the coordinate plane.

Scatter plots can be used to show a variety of data. The scatter plot above, for example, could represent the growth of grass as it ages from day to day. The x-axis, in this case, represents the age of the grass in days and the y-axis represents the height of the grass in inches.

A Word Problem

The word problems that you come across may or may not have the scatter plot all ready for you. If the problem does not give you the scatter plot, then it will give you the data points to plot. Let's see how we can use the scatter plot that we just saw to help us solve this word problem:

Samuel has finished collecting his growth data for the grass that he is growing in his lab. He has plotted his data on this scatter plot. The x-axis represents the day and the y-axis represents the height of the grass. All the plants started with a height of 0 on day 0. What is the equation that represents the growth of this grass?

scatter plot

Using the Scatter Plot

To answer the problem, you need to look at the scatter plot. You carefully read the problem so that you know exactly what the problem is saying and what it is asking of you. The problem is asking you for the equation that represents the growth of this grass. What kind of equation would that be? Well, since the scatter plot is pretty much the same as the coordinate plane, you realize that this equation can be your equation for a line. To find this equation, then, all you need is to locate the y-intercept and find the slope.

To unlock this lesson you must be a Member.
Create your account

Register to view this lesson

Are you a student or a teacher?

Unlock Your Education

See for yourself why 30 million people use

Become a member and start learning now.
Become a Member  Back
What teachers are saying about
Try it risk-free for 30 days

Earning College Credit

Did you know… We have over 200 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 1,500 colleges and universities. You can test out of the first two years of college and save thousands off your degree. Anyone can earn credit-by-exam regardless of age or education level.

To learn more, visit our Earning Credit Page

Transferring credit to the school of your choice

Not sure what college you want to attend yet? has thousands of articles about every imaginable degree, area of study and career path that can help you find the school that's right for you.

Create an account to start this course today
Try it risk-free for 30 days!
Create an account