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  • A polynomial function is a function of the form:

    All of these coefficients are real numbers

    n must be a positive integer

    Remember integers are 2, -1, 0, 1, 2 (no decimals or fractions) so positive integers would be 0, 1, 2

    The degree of the polynomial is the largest power on any x term in the polynomial.

  • x 0

    Not a polynomial because of the square root since the power is NOT an integer

    Determine which of the following are polynomial functions. If the function is a polynomial, state its degree.

    A polynomial of degree 4.

    A polynomial of degree 0.

    We can write in an x0 since this = 1.

    Not a polynomial because of the x in the denominator since the power is negative

  • Graphs of polynomials are smooth and continuous.

    No sharp corners or cusps

    No gaps or holes, can be drawn without lifting pencil from paper

    This IS the graph of a polynomial

    This IS NOT the graph of a polynomial

  • Lets look at the graph of where n is an even integer.

    and grows steeper on either side

    Notice each graph looks similar to x2 but is wider and flatter near the origin between 1 and 1

    The higher the power, the flatter and steeper

  • Lets look at the graph of where n is an odd integer.

    and grows steeper on either side

    Notice each graph looks similar to x3 but is wider and flatter near the origin between 1 and 1

    The higher the power, the flatter and steeper

  • Lets graph

    Looks like x2 but wider near origin and steeper after 1 and -1

    Reflects about the x-axis

    Translates up 2

    So as long as the function is a transformation of xn, we can graph it, but what if its not? Well learn some techniques to help us determine what the graph looks like in the next slides.

  • LEFT

    RIGHT

    and

    HAND BEHAVIOUR OF A GRAPH

    The degree of the polynomial along with the sign of the coefficient of the term with the highest power will tell us about the left and right hand behaviour of a graph.

  • Even degree polynomials rise on both the left and right hand sides of the graph (like x2) if the coefficient is positive. The additional terms may cause the graph to have some turns near the center but will always have the same left and right hand behaviour determined by the highest powered term.

    left hand behaviour: rises

    right hand behaviour: rises

  • Even degree polynomials fall on both the left and right hand sides of the graph (like - x2) if the coefficient is negative.

    left hand behaviour: falls

    right hand behaviour: falls

    turning points in the middle

  • Odd degree polynomials fall on the left and rise on the right hand sides of the graph (like x3) if the coefficient is positive.

    left hand behaviour: falls

    right hand behaviour: rises

    turning Points in the middle

  • Odd degree polynomials rise on the left and fall on the right hand sides of the graph (like x3) if the coefficient is negative.

    left hand behaviour: rises

    right hand behaviour: falls

    turning points in the middle

  • A polynomial of degree n can have at most n-1 turning points (so whatever the degree is, subtract 1 to get the most times the graph could turn).

    Lets determine left and right hand behaviour for the graph of the function:

    degree is 4 which is even and the coefficient is positive so the graph will look like x2 looks off to the left and off to the right.

    The graph can have at most 3 turning points

    How do we determine what it looks like near the middle?

  • x and y intercepts would be useful and we know how to find those. To find the y intercept we put 0 in for x.

    (0,30)

    To find the x intercept we put 0 in for y.

    Finally we need a smooth curve through the intercepts that has the correct left and right hand behavior. To pass through these points, it will have 3 turns (one less than the degree so thats okay)

  • We found the x intercept by putting 0 in for f(x) or y (they are the same thing remember). So we call the x intercepts the zeros of the polynomial since it is where it = 0. These are also called the roots of the polynomial.

    Can you find the zeros of the polynomial?

    There are repeated factors. (x-1) is to the 3rd power so it is repeated 3 times. If we set this equal to zero and solve we get 1. We then say that 1 is a zero of multiplicity 3 (since it showed up as a factor 3 times).

    What are the other zeros and their multiplicities?

    -2 is a zero of multiplicity 2

    3 is a zero of multiplicity 1

  • So knowing the zeros of a polynomial we can plot them on the graph. If we know the multiplicity of the zero, it tells us whether the graph crosses the x axis at this point (odd multiplicities CROSS) or whether it just touches the axis and turns and heads back the other way (even multiplicities TOUCH). Lets try to graph:

    You dont need to multiply this out but figure out what the highest power on an x would be if multiplied out. In this case it would be an x3. Notice the negative out in front.

    What would the left and right hand behavior be?

    What would the y intercept be?

    (0, 4)

    Find the zeros and their multiplicity

    1 of mult. 1(so crosses axis at 1)

    -2 of mult. 2(so touches at 2)

  • Steps for Graphing a Polynomial

    Determine left and right hand behaviour by looking at the highest power on x and the sign of that term.

    Determine maximum number of turning points in graph by subtracting 1 from the degree.

    Find and plot y intercept by putting 0 in for x

    Find the zeros (x intercepts) by setting polynomial = 0 and solving.

    Determine multiplicity of zeros.

    Join the points together in a smooth curve touching or crossing zeros depending on multiplicity and using left and right hand behavior as a guide.

  • Lets graph:

    Determine left and right hand behavior by looking at the highest power on x and the sign of that term.

    Multiplying out, highest power would be x4

    Determine maximum number of turns in graph by subtracting 1 from the degree.

    Degree is 4 so maximum number of turns is 3

    Find and plot y intercept by putting 0 in for x

    Find the zeros (x intercepts) by setting polynomial = 0 and solving.

    Zeros are: 0, 3, -4

    Determine multiplicity of zeros.

    0 multiplicity 2 (touches)3 multiplicity 1 (crosses)-4 multiplicity 1 (crosses)

    Join the points together in a smooth curve touching or crossing zeros depending on multiplicity and using left and right hand behaviour as a guide.

    Here is the actual graph. We did pretty good. If wed wanted to be more accurate on how low to go before turning we could have plugged in an x value somewhere between the zeros and found the y value. We are not going to be picky about this though since there is a great method in calculus for finding these maxima and minima.

  • What is we thought backwards? Given the zeros and the degree can you come up with a polynomial? Find a polynomial of degree 3 that has zeros 1, 2 and 3.

    What would the function look like in factored form to have the zeros given above?

    Multiply this out to get the polynomial. FOIL two of them and then multiply by the third one.

  • Acknowledgement

    I wish to thank Shawna Haider from Salt Lake Community College, Utah USA for her hard work in creating this PowerPoint.

    www.slcc.edu

    Shawna has kindly given permission for this resource to be downloaded from www.mathxtc.com and for it to be modified to suit the Western Australian Mathematics Curriculum.

    Stephen Corcoran

    Head of Mathematics

    St Stephens School Carramar

    www.ststephens.wa.edu.au

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