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Piecewise and Step Functions

Its time to put the FUN in


FUNCTIONS!!!

The Greatest Integer


Function

y = [[x]] means the greatest integer not

greater than x
Floor function: take the input values down
to the nearest integer
For example, [[2.4 ]], means the greatest

integer not greater than 2.4. So, [2.4] =


2.
Your answer will always be an integer.

Greatest Integer Function,


continued
Here are some other examples:
[[3]] = 3
[[-2.2]] = -3
[[5.8]] = 5

Lets graph y = [x] using a table


of values:
x

-.5

-1

-.1

-1

0.4

0.8

1.2

1.8

2.3

3.2

3.7

Because this graph looks like a


staircase, we also call it a step
function.

The domain of y = [x]


would be all real
numbers, because we
can substitute any
number in for x and get
a result.
The range of y = [x]
would be the set of
integers, because even
though we can
substitute decimals or
fractions, our answer will
always be an integer.

Another Example: y = 2[x


1]
x

-2

0.4

-2

0.8

-2

1.2

1.8

2.3

3.2

y = 2[x 1] continued
Notice the steps are

further apart this time:


there are 2 spaces
between each one.
Also, the step at x = 0
has shifted to the right
1 unit.
The domain of y = 2[x
1] is all real numbers.
The range of y = 2[x
1] is all even integers,
because we will only
get even integers as
outputs.

Another Example: y = 0.5[x]


+2
x

0.4

0.8

2.5

1.2

2.5

1.8

2.5

2.3

3.5

3.2

3.5

y = 0.5[x] + 2 continued
Notice the steps are

closer together this


time: there is a half of a
space between each
one.
Also, the step at x = 0
has shifted up 2 units.
The domain of y = 0.5[x]
+ 2 is all real numbers.
The range of y = 0.5[x]
+ 2 is the set of
numbers {, -1.5, -1,
-0.5, 0, 0.5, }, because
these are the numbers
we will get as outputs.

Transformations of y = [x]
General form: y = a[x h] + k
There will be a units between

steps.
The graph will shift h units right
for [x h] and h units left for [x
+ h].
The graph will shift up k units
for +k and down k units for k.

Graphing Step Functions on the


Calculator
Go to y =.
Input your function.

You can find the


greatest integer
function by going to
MATH, moving over to
NUM, and choosing
#5 int(.
For example, y = [[x]]
+ 2 would be put in
as
y = int(x) + 2.
Then, graph.

Graphing Step Functions on the


Calculator continued
Notice that it looks

like the steps are


connected, which we
know is not the case.
This is because of
your calculators
mode.
Press MODE, and
change CONNECTED
to DOT.
Then, graph again.
There are our steps!

You Try
Graph f(x) =[[x-3]] + 2

Now lets talk about


PIECEWISE FUNCTIONS.
Piecewise functions are defined on various

intervals. In other words, we will have


different pieces of functions depending on our
x-values.
For example:
This means that we will graph f(x) = -x for all

x-values less than 0, and we will graph f(x) =


2x + 3 for all x-values greater than or equal to
0. Lets take a look at this graph.

Piecewise Functions
Graphing different functions over different
parts of the graph.
One part tells you what to graph, then where
to graph it.
What to graph
Where to graph

3x 2 x 2
f ( x)
x 3 x 2

Lets graph f(x) =

-x, where x must


be less than 0.

Lets graph f(x) =

2x+3, where x
must be greater
than or equal to 0.\

All together, here is the graph of our piecewise

function:

The domain would be all real numbers, and the

range would be all real numbers greater than 0.

Other Examples

The domain would be x < -2


and x
0. The range would
be y -5.

The domain would be all real


numbers. The range would
be y > 4/5.

Piecewise Functions in the Real


World
A t-shirt company sells t-shirts for $12

apiece if you buy 10 or less. If you are


willing to buy between 11 and 50, they will
cut you a deal and sell them to you for $10
apiece. If you are willing to buy more than
50, they will sell them to you for $8 apiece.

1. Graph f ( x) x 3 2
(the greatest integer function has been modified...)
x 5, if x 2

2. f ( x) 2 x 1, if 2 x 2
2 x 9, if x 2

2 x 1, if x 3
x 8, if x 3

3. Graph: f ( x)