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Graphing Polynomials

Tyler Coomes
West Career and Technical Academy
College Prep
Mrs. Winton
11/4/2016

A North American Red-Tailed Hawk is hunting for Kangaroo Mice in the Nevada desert.
Beginning at 0, the Hawk traveled a distance of 4 miles before landing atop its prey. In this
distance, the hawk soared at 80 ft above the ground by one mile, hit its maximum of 128 ft a 2
miles, and began its descent, reaching 45 ft above the mouse at 3 miles.

How To graph the polynomial


To begin the process of graphing this polynomial, find the end behavior of the graph. To
do this, find the Degree of the graph (by simply counting the number of exponents for the
number of parenthesis). In this graph, the Degree is 4. Note that 4 is an even number. Next, find
the sign of the leading coefficient. In the case of this function, it is negative. This means that as x
approaches infinity, f(x) will approach negative infinity and as x approaches negative infinity,
f(x) will also approach negative infinity. This is because under the rules of end behavior, an even
degree means the graph will end in the same direction on both ends, and the negative means they
both end downwards. Next, find the y-intercept. To achieve this, set the parent function equal to
zero, and solve. This came out to be 0 for the function above, so the y-intercept in this case is
(0,0). Then, find the zeros. To find the zeros of a graph, set each part equal to zero. In the case of
this function, the parts that must be solved are x-4=0, x+2=0, and x^2=0. These come out to be
x=-2, 4, and 0 for this function. Along with the zeros comes the multiplicity. This is where each
part from the step aforementioned is checked for the values of their exponents. The first part
listed above was -x^2. The square means that at that point the graph will bounce off of the xaxis. The next part of the equation is (x-4)^3. The cube indicates that at that point, the graph will
wiggle through the x-axis. Finally, the (x+2) having an exponent of 1 means that the graph will
cross over at this point. After finding the multiplicity, find the number of turning points the

graph has. To do this, simply take the degree which was found prior, and subtract it by 1. This
left this graph with 3 turning points. To find the rest of the points on the graph, chose points to
plug into the parent function. It is recommended you chose one point on the outside of both the
greatest and least zero of the graph, as well as a few points in between the zeros to fill in the
blanks. Once plugged in and solved, the x|y table for this graph should resemble the one as
follows:

-1

125

81

128

45

-175

-3

-3087

From here, take the points and plot them on the graph, connecting the dots and correctly crossing
over, wiggling through, or bouncing off the x-axis.

Bibliography
http://animals.nationalgeographic.com/animals/birds/red-tailed-hawk/
I used National Geographic to help me choose a scale in which to
put the y-axis of my graph in. I also used this sight to give me background
knowledge on the Red-Tailed Hawk and how they hunt for prey