A mathematical model is a graph, table or function that approximates real world data or situations.

A graph can model real life situations. The graph in figure 1 is a model of exponential growth. Exponential growth occurs in natural populations that grow without significant competition or predators. 

Tables can be mathematical models too. In the table in figure 2, sales from the years 2003, 2004, and 2005 were used to estimate the sales for 2006. The characters '(est.)' in the table tell us the 2006 datum is an estimate, and is not actual sales. 

A function can also model real world data. The function in figure 3 is an exponential function and is used to model many natural events. 
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