Polynomial functions can be used to model a wide variety of things that either grow or shrink, like populations and the area of oil spills. Remember that a polynomial is a mathematical expression of two or more algebraic terms that contain variables and coefficients and only uses addition, subtraction, and multiplication of non-negative integer exponents. A polynomial function consists of either zero or the sum of a finite number of these non-zero terms, each of which is a product of a number called the coefficient of the term and a variable raised to a non-negative integer power.

In this section, we will combine what we know about functions and polynomials to gain a basic understanding of polynomial functions.