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How to make a Polynomial Factor Exploration Tool

In the Input Panel (at the bottom left) type: a=1 then press <Enter>. Repeat with b=1, c=1 and d=1. You now have four variables a,b,c,d which will be the roots of our polynomial. In the Algebra window, on the label a=1, • click the radio button to display the variable as a slider • right click and select “Show label” to put a label on the slider. Repeat for the other three variables. In the Input Panel : f(x) = (x-a)(x-b)(x-c)(x-d)

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In the Algebra window, right click on the function, select “Object Properties”, then • use the Style tab to make the line thicker. • use the Colour tab to make it more colourful. • use the Basic table to select the Label view to “Value” Explore. • • • • What happens to the graph as you change the values of the roots? What happens if two roots are set to the same value? What if three roots are set to the same value? Modify this tool to explore a higher degree polynomial.

To zoom the axes: Select the Move button, then put your mouse on an axis – you can stretch or shrink it. Press the Select (Arrow) button to return to standard mode.

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GHT-04v1 Sep 2012

GeoGebra Niceties
Using Greek letters for the roots: You may wish to rename the roots as 𝛼, 𝛽, 𝛾, 𝛿 to distinguish them from coefficients of the quartic. Right click the variable, select “Rename”, then use the little text box with an alpha symbol right at the end of the input box provided. You can select from a many Greek letters.

A more flexible text label for the function: In GeoGebra4: • Click on the Text button • Click somewhere on the Geometry window • Use the dropdown “Objects” box to select your function. • If you want to see the expansion, use the expression “” + Expand(f)