To “read” a slope, you always go from left to right. If the slope is ascending, it has a positive rise, if it is descending, it has a negative rise.


Slope is calculated as:


Slope = Rise/Run




m = Rise/Run


A slope is negative only when the rise is negative.


The simplest way to determine a slope is to count the run and rise. Example below:



Here you can see that the rise is 5 and the run is 5.


5/5 = 1 therefore the slope is 1. When writing this slope in y = mx + b form, do not include the 1, write it like this: y = x  + 0 (do not include 0’s in your answer, this is just for representation).


Rate of Change


The slope can also be referred to as a rate of change. For example is the slope is 5 (5/1) then the rate of change is 5.




Bob rode his bike 20km in 4 hours.


20 / 4 = 5


This means the slope is (5/1) and that Bob travels 5km per hour.