Constructing the tangent line of quadratic without calculus

The tangent line of a quadratic function at $(x_0, y_0)$is a line $y=kx+m$ that intersects $y=ax^2+bx+c$ at $(x_0, y_0=ax_0^2+bx_0+c)$ only.

The presence of function $y=kx+m$ immediately excludes the vertical line $x=x_0$ which also intersects $y=ax^2+bx+c$ at $(x_0, ax_0^2+bx_0+c)$ only (see Fig. 1).

Fig. 1

Let’s find $k$.

Line $y = kx+m$ intersects $y=ax^2+bx+c$ at $(x_0, ax_0^2+bx_0+c)$ only means quadratic equation

$ax^2+bx +c =kx +m$

has only one solution. That is, the discriminant of $ax^2+bx+c-kx-m =0$ is zero:

$(b-k)^2-4a(c-m) = 0\quad\quad\quad(1)$

Fig. 2

And, by the definition of slope (see Fig. 2),

$(x-x_0)k = (kx+m)-(ax_0^2+bx_0+c)$.

It follows that

$m = (ax_0^2+b_0+c)-x_0 k\quad\quad\quad(2)$

Substituting (2) into (1), we have

$(b-k)^2-4a(c-((a_0 x^2+b x_0 + c)-x_0 k)=0$.

Solve it for $k$ gives

$k = 2 a x_0 +b$.

Fig. 3