If you’re working on Unit 5 Polynomial Functions Homework 3, you’re likely diving into the world of zeros and multiplicities of polynomial functions. This concept is fundamental to understanding the behavior of polynomial functions and their graphs. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to tackle this homework assignment with confidence.

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## Understanding Zeros of a Polynomial Function

**Zeros** of a polynomial function f(x) are the values of x for which f(x) = 0. In other words, they are the solutions to the equation f(x) = 0. The zeros of a polynomial function can tell us a lot about its behavior and characteristics, and they play a crucial role in graphing the function.

For example, if a polynomial function has a zero at x = 2, it means that when x = 2, the function value is 0. This information can be used to determine the x-intercept of the function’s graph, as the x-intercept is where the function crosses the x-axis (i.e., where the function value is 0).

## Understanding Multiplicity of Zeros

The **multiplicity** of a zero of a polynomial function refers to the number of times the zero is a root of the function. In other words, it tells us how many times a particular factor (x – a) appears in the factorization of the polynomial.

For example, if a polynomial function f(x) has a zero at x = 3 with multiplicity 2, it means that (x – 3) is a factor of the polynomial raised to the second power. This tells us that the graph of the function will touch or bounce off the x-axis at x = 3, rather than crossing it.

Zero | Multiplicity |
---|---|

x = 1 | 3 |

x = -2 | 1 |

x = 4 | 2 |

## Finding the Zeros and Multiplicities of a Polynomial Function

When given a polynomial function, finding its zeros and their multiplicities is essential for understanding its behavior and graphing it accurately. There are several methods for finding the zeros and multiplicities of a polynomial function:

**Factoring:**If the polynomial is factorable, you can use the factored form to identify the zeros and their multiplicities directly. For example, if a polynomial is written as f(x) = (x – 3)(x + 2)(x – 1)^2, the zeros are x = 3, x = -2, and x = 1 with multiplicities 1, 1, and 2, respectively.**Using the Rational Root Theorem:**This theorem provides a list of possible rational zeros for a polynomial function. By testing these potential zeros using synthetic division or polynomial long division, you can determine the actual zeros and their multiplicities.**Graphing:**Graphing the polynomial function can also help in identifying the zeros and their multiplicities. The x-intercepts of the graph correspond to the zeros, and the behavior of the graph near these points can indicate the multiplicity of each zero.

## Applying Zeros and Multiplicities in Graphing

Once you have identified the zeros and their multiplicities of a polynomial function, you can use this information to graph the function accurately. Here’s how the zeros and multiplicities affect the graph:

**Even Multiplicity:**If a zero has even multiplicity, the graph of the function will touch or bounce off the x-axis at that point. This means that the function does not cross the x-axis at these points.**Odd Multiplicity:**If a zero has odd multiplicity, the graph of the function will cross the x-axis at that point. The graph will behave similarly to a linear function near the zero with odd multiplicity.

Understanding the behavior of the graph near the zeros can help you accurately sketch the graph of the polynomial function without needing to plot every point.

## Summary

In this guide, we’ve covered the essential concepts of zeros and multiplicities of polynomial functions. By understanding these concepts and how to find them, you can confidently tackle Unit 5 Polynomial Functions Homework 3 and apply this knowledge to graph polynomial functions accurately.

Remember, the zeros and multiplicities play a crucial role in understanding the behavior of the graph and can streamline the process of graphing polynomial functions. Utilize factoring, the Rational Root Theorem, and graphing techniques to identify the zeros and their multiplicities, and apply this knowledge to create precise graphs of polynomial functions.