Education Technology

Personal Polynomials

Activity Overview

Watch Activity Tutorial

If A = 1, B = 2 ... your name could be converted into numbers and described as a function, your Personal Polynomial. What does your polynomial look like? Students find their own personal polynomial and then study its properties. They set up and use simultaneous equations to find their polynomial, the bisection method to locate x-axis intercepts and transformations to compare others. Palindromic names create polynomials with an axis of symmetry. Is it possible for two names to generate the same polynomial, Alex(x) compared with Alexander(x)? A guided exploration task that will run over several lessons.


  • Simultaneous equations
  • Bisection method
  • Degree of a polynomial
  • Symmetry of a polynomial
  • Odd and even degree characteristics
  • Simple transformations


  • Polynomial
  • Degree
  • Odd and Even
  • Symmetry
  • Bisection Method

About the Lesson

Watch Activity Tutorial

Students express their name as a set of point by exchanging letters for numbers. Students then need to determine the polynomial equation that passes through all of their points. (Simultaneous Equations) Where does it cross the x-axis? (Bisection method) What is the degree of your polynomial and why? Each student's answer is essentially unique, making this an ideal assessment task. Teachers can email our teacher support team for a copy of the answers.