Non-linear graphs

This sub-collection of resources from the ‘Graphing Stories’ collection contains situations that give rise to non-linear graphs. Additionally, some of the situations result in parabolas or graphs that are periodic.


Distance from the bench

A person is shown exercising using weights whilst lying on a bench.  As the weight is lifted the arms of the person curl around, so that the distance from the bench is not linear with time. As the exercise progresses it takes longer to do each bench press. Finally the weights are placed back on the resting stand....

Distance from the camera

A person is shown spinning around on a playground ‘carousel’ before getting off and walking away. The task is to graph the distance of the person from the camera against time. The resulting graph has periodicity and non-linear elements. This story can be used as a complement to ‘Distance from centre of carousel’...


A tennis ball is dropped from a height of 3 feet. The ball is shown bouncing on the ground. The challenge is to graph the height of the tennis ball against time. The resulting graph is parabolic with the amplitude showing a decrease each time.

Height video

Height of waist off ground 2

A person is shown on a swing. They swing back and forth at a constant rate and reach. After several swings, the person jumps off the swing and comes to rest. The challenge is to graph the height of their waist against time. The resulting graph is parabolic and periodic with a constant section at the end.



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