Education Technology

Personal Poly Investigation

Activity Overview

Turn your name into a Polynomial. Are there any two names that share the same polynomial? Students explore names and polynomials, including what happens to palindromic names, what degree is their polynomial? This investigation is provided as a Word document for teachers to edit and customise for their students. A PowerPoint slide show is ready to go, suggested answers and TI-nspire files, this investigation has it all wrapped up!


The aim of this investigation is for students to see how the quantity of known points relates to the degree of a polynomial that passes through the points. Through palindromic names (words) students also explore odd and even degree polynomials and symmetry. They explore gradients either side of a point to help determine the nature of the polynomial. There are loads of opportunities for students to explore!


  • Polynomial
  • Degree
  • Slope or Gradient
  • Symmetry (palindromic)

About the Lesson

Students convert the letters in their name to numbers (according to their location in the alphabet). These numbers are turned into points that their polynomial must pass through. Students explore whether two names share the same polynomial, what happens with palindromic names and much more. Edit the Word document to suit your needs. Introduce the investigation with the supplied PowerPoint slide show and check your student answers with the TI-nspire file! There is also a file for students to dynamically explore three letter words (names).