The key to interpretting graphs and data that models real life situations is to take it slow and think about what each axis means.

For example, you might be given a graph or asked to make a graph that shows how water drains from a sink over time. The y-axis might show water volume, and the x-axis would show time.

So at time 0, if the sink is full, and at time 1 the sink is empty, that would be represented by a negative diagonal line.

There are any number of questions that could be asked; you could for example be asked to deduce the shape of the sink.

Most often, however, you are simply given distance-time graphs to work with.

In this case,distance is represented by the y axis, and time by the x axis.

If an object is moving, the line is diagonal, because as time increases, the distance from the starting point increases too, giving a positive  diagonal line.

The steeper this line, the faster the object is moving.

Remember, time never stops, so if an object is not moving, you will get a horizontal line, because the distance doesn't change, but time still goes on. This speed is 0, because it is not even moving!

You can apply the same mentality when reading other real life situations.

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