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That critter in the last section is a polynomial!

x^2 - 4x + 1

Here are some others:

x^2 + 7x -3    and    4a^3 + 7a^2 + a    and     nm^2 - m     and    3x - 2      and    5

"Polynomial" is a pretty big word, but it's not a hard thing.  (We use big words in math so other people think we are smart."

For now (and, probably, forever), you can just think of a polynomial as a bunch of blobs all added or subtracted.  The blobs are just products of numbers and letters with exponents.  As you'll see later on, polynomials have cool graphs:

graphs of polynomials

 

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