I was having actually this debate with a colleague. The check we have to use has a difficulty where it says the slope without units simply a number value. It also gives the horizontal distance through units. The trouble asks to find the vertical distance yet does not cite the units.

You are watching: What are the units for slope

My colleague argues that because slope is a ratio units are not needed and that implies the devices must enhance at the end.

I argue the you do need the units due to the fact that the vertical devices are never specified. No to cite we want to be clear in our message. Friend wouldn't go as much as someone and also say the steep is .25. You would certainly say something favor you advanced .25 ft vertically because that every 1 ft. Horizontally. I realize this method the units minimize out yet the paper definition matters.



The systems for slope space the devices for the upright axis split by the units for the horizontal axis. For example, if the horizontal axis represents time and also the upright axis represents distance traveled, climate the slope has actually units of distance per time, i.e. Velocity. This adheres to from the truth that the steep is the change in the y-value split by the change in the x-value.

In the instance where the horizontal and vertical axes have the very same units, i.e. If both represent distance, climate the steep is a dimensionless quantity.

For those of united state that have actually been learning and also doing mathematics for together a lengthy time i feel favor that is simpler for them to infer. Because that students despite it is this sort of subtle stuff the confuses the crap out of them. As soon as we can just be right forward and also express it.

When would certainly you ever say "feet every foot" in conversation? A unitless presentation matches organic language and is the best mathematical interpretation.

How do we know that the vertical axis is not in inches? The slope can be 3 in./ 2 in.. The math interpretation would certainly be 1.5. Yet our horizontal is given in feet.

At which suggest you might argue the the context is mixed up and units don't match. I beg your pardon is really what my debate is about. Exactly how do we understand for sure the units of the slope are feet.

I think the the context is very important. Ns think it help to solidify the idea that a graph isn't different from one function, however a visual representation that can help understand the habits of a function. Whether it's feet per 2nd or inch per inch. The most basic I've ever before thought the it to be still climb over run for contextless bookwork and also that's still a unit of distance per distance.

When ns taught steep I never ever taught the basic mathematical proportion first. Ns would constantly introduce the concept by allowing the students come just define the rise and run in English; this necessitated utilizing units and also clarifying horizontal or vertical.

At some allude in this process we would comment on how speak "feet vertical" / "feet horizontal" can be streamlined to simply saying rise/run (dimensionless) as long as we're utilizing the same units because that the two dimensions (as we should in a unit Cartesian plane). We simply state just how this is easier and also move on. Eventually, the idea that "slope" is currently a ratio with devices implied yet not stated simply out of convention of gift easier.

As such, i think the answer come your concern is less around "are units needed" but more of "can the student answer the concern asked?" I would certainly say this way that in the paper definition of a "physical" problem, we should make sure students recognize that the idea the slope and other mathematical concepts are just abstractions, not the answer.

See more: Colloids Are True Solutions True False, Colloids Are True Solutions

To the end, I'd say units are required due to the fact that (a) the difficulty specifies units, and (b) slope is a price of readjust of one dimension vs another, and has units implied for both dimensions... And we need to make certain the college student knows that.