<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
In this section students will:
  • Identify the degree and leading coefficient of polynomials.
  • Add and subtract polynomials.
  • Multiply polynomials.
  • Use FOIL to multiply binomials.
  • Perform operations with polynomials of several variables.

Earl is building a doghouse, whose front is in the shape of a square topped with a triangle. There will be a rectangular door through which the dog can enter and exit the house. Earl wants to find the area of the front of the doghouse so that he can purchase the correct amount of paint. Using the measurements of the front of the house, shown in [link] , we can create an expression that combines several variable terms, allowing us to solve this problem and others like it.

Sketch of a house formed by a square and a triangle based on the top of the square. A rectangle is placed at the bottom center of the square to mark a doorway. The height of the door is labeled: x and the width of the door is labeled: 1 foot. The side of the square is labeled: 2x. The height of the triangle is labeled: 3/2 feet.

First find the area of the square in square feet.

A = s 2 = ( 2 x ) 2 = 4 x 2

Then find the area of the triangle in square feet.

A = 1 2 b h =    1 2 ( 2 x ) ( 3 2 ) =    3 2 x

Next find the area of the rectangular door in square feet.

A = l w = x 1 = x

The area of the front of the doghouse can be found by adding the areas of the square and the triangle, and then subtracting the area of the rectangle. When we do this, we get 4 x 2 + 3 2 x x ft 2 , or 4 x 2 + 1 2 x ft 2 .

In this section, we will examine expressions such as this one, which combine several variable terms.

Identifying the degree and leading coefficient of polynomials

The formula just found is an example of a polynomial    , which is a sum of or difference of terms, each consisting of a variable raised to a nonnegative integer power. A number multiplied by a variable raised to an exponent, such as 384 π , is known as a coefficient    . Coefficients can be positive, negative, or zero, and can be whole numbers, decimals, or fractions. Each product a i x i , such as 384 π w , is a term of a polynomial    . If a term does not contain a variable, it is called a constant .

A polynomial containing only one term, such as 5 x 4 , is called a monomial    . A polynomial containing two terms, such as 2 x 9 , is called a binomial    . A polynomial containing three terms, such as −3 x 2 + 8 x 7 , is called a trinomial    .

We can find the degree    of a polynomial by identifying the highest power of the variable that occurs in the polynomial. The term with the highest degree is called the leading term    because it is usually written first. The coefficient of the leading term is called the leading coefficient    . When a polynomial is written so that the powers are descending, we say that it is in standard form.

A polynomial reading: a sub n times x to the nth power plus and so on plus a sub 2 times x squared plus a sub one times x plus a subzero is shown. The a in the term a sub n is labeled: leading coefficient. The n in the term x to the nth power is labeled: degree. Finally, the entire term is labeled as: Leading term.


A polynomial    is an expression that can be written in the form

a n x n + ... + a 2 x 2 + a 1 x + a 0

Each real number a i is called a coefficient    . The number a 0 that is not multiplied by a variable is called a constant . Each product a i x i is a term of a polynomial    . The highest power of the variable that occurs in the polynomial is called the degree    of a polynomial. The leading term    is the term with the highest power, and its coefficient is called the leading coefficient    .

Given a polynomial expression, identify the degree and leading coefficient .

  1. Find the highest power of x to determine the degree.
  2. Identify the term containing the highest power of x to find the leading term.
  3. Identify the coefficient of the leading term.

Questions & Answers

what is linear equation with one unknown 2x+5=3
Joan Reply
I was wrong. I didn't move all constants to the right of the equation.
Adityasuman x= - 1
what is the VA Ha D R X int Y int of f(x) =x²+4x+4/x+2 f(x) =x³-1/x-1
Shadow Reply
can I get help with this?
Are they two separate problems or are the two functions a system?
Also, is the first x squared in "x+4x+4"
thank you
Please see ***imgur.com/a/lpTpDZk for solutions
f(x)=x square-root 2 +2x+1 how to solve this value
Marjun Reply
factor or use quadratic formula
what is algebra
Ige Reply
The product of two is 32. Find a function that represents the sum of their squares.
if theta =30degree so COS2 theta = 1- 10 square theta upon 1 + tan squared theta
Martin Reply
how to compute this 1. g(1-x) 2. f(x-2) 3. g (-x-/5) 4. f (x)- g (x)
Yanah Reply
what sup friend
not much For functions, there are two conditions for a function to be the inverse function:   1--- g(f(x)) = x for all x in the domain of f     2---f(g(x)) = x for all x in the domain of g Notice in both cases you will get back to the  element that you started with, namely, x.
sin theta=3/4.prove that sec square theta barabar 1 + tan square theta by cosec square theta minus cos square theta
Umesh Reply
acha se dhek ke bata sin theta ke value
sin theta ke ja gha sin square theta hoga
I want to know trigonometry but I can't understand it anyone who can help
Siyabonga Reply
which part of trig?
differentiation doubhts
Prove that 4sin50-3tan 50=1
Sudip Reply
False statement so you cannot prove it
f(x)= 1 x    f(x)=1x  is shifted down 4 units and to the right 3 units.
Sebit Reply
f (x) = −3x + 5 and g (x) = x − 5 /−3
what are real numbers
Marty Reply
I want to know partial fraction Decomposition.
Adama Reply
classes of function in mathematics
Yazidu Reply
divide y2_8y2+5y2/y2
Sumanth Reply
wish i knew calculus to understand what's going on 🙂
Dashawn Reply
@dashawn ... in simple terms, a derivative is the tangent line of the function. which gives the rate of change at that instant. to calculate. given f(x)==ax^n. then f'(x)=n*ax^n-1 . hope that help.
thanks bro
maybe when i start calculus in a few months i won't be that lost 😎

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!

Source:  OpenStax, Algebra and trigonometry. OpenStax CNX. Nov 14, 2016 Download for free at https://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11758/1.6
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Algebra and trigonometry' conversation and receive update notifications?