The other day in my maths class the students were asked to find the average gradient for two points on a parabola. What they did was use the derivative to find the gradient at each point and then average those gradients.
Guess what? They all got the answer that I expected but none of them did it correctly (simple rise over run using two points). Well, I was a little surprised, but of course I wondered if the two "averages" were the same for parabolas.
The drawing below simply shows two points, and two points with .

*A*and*B*, that you can move around on the parabola (which can also be moved), and the average gradient (from*A*to*B*) always equals the average of the two gradients at*A*and*B*. With a little algebra it can be shown that for a function of the form*x*-values of*h*and*k*, the average gradient = the average of the gradients =