How to Understand Slope for Beginners

By Marija Kero

Slope means the steepness of a line. Find out about slope for beginners with help from an experienced mathematics professional in this free video clip.


Hi, my name is Marija, and today I'm gonna show you how to understand slope for beginners. So slope means the steepness of a line, and so whenever you think of a slope think of a hill or think of a treadmill and how the treadmill will incline or decline depending on what you press on it. So, a line that looks like this will have a slope of one, and slope is represented by the letter m. So the slope here will be one, approximately. Now the steeper the line gets, so if I draw a line like this, the slow for this line might be approximately three. So the slope is gonna get higher. And the steeper the line is, the higher the slope or the absolute value of the slope is going to get. So if I draw a line like this, which is steeper than all three, the slope might be about five. So all these slopes which are positive as the slopes got higher, the lines got steeper. Now if I have a line that's going downward, the slope is going to be negative. So for example, a line that looks like this will have a slope of about negative one, so this line here will have a slope of about negative one because from left to right it's going downwards. A line that is horizontal like this will have a zero slope. So slope of this line is zero. And the way that I think this is easy to remember is if you are on a treadmill and you're walking a straight line like this, you would have the incline on zero, right? You don't have it high, you don't have it low, it's on zero. But then a line that looks like this, if we're sticking to the treadmill topic, you can never make your treadmill look like this, right? So this is a line that has no slope, or an undefined slope. So a vertical line has no slope, a horizontal line has a slope of zero, lines that are going upwards from left to right are positive, and lines that are going downwards from left to right have negative slopes. And that is slope for beginners.

About the Author

Marija Kero graduated from the Pforzheimer Honors College at Pace University with a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics and Adolescent Education.