Mathematical Model
Pronunciation: /ˌmæθ əˈmæt ɪ kəl ˈmɒd l/ Explain
A mathematical model is a
graph,
table or
function
that
approximates
either real world data or situations, or illustrates a mathematical principle.
Graphs as Mathematical Models
Figure 1: Graph of exponential growth
model that increases slowly at first, then quickly.


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 as Mathematical Models
Year  2003  2004  2005  (est.) 2006 
Sales  52  61  84  106

All dollar amounts are in millions of dollars

Figure 2: Table as a mathematical model.


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.

Functions as Mathematical Models
 Figure 3  Function as a mathematical model. 

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.

Educator Resources
Cite this article as:
McAdams, David E. Mathematical Model. 9/2/2018. All Math Words Encyclopedia. Life is a Story Problem LLC. http://www.allmathwords.org/en/m/mathmodel.html.
Image Credits
Revision History
9/2/2018: Removed broken links, updated license, implemented new markup. (
McAdams, David E.)
8/7/2018: Changed vocabulary links to WORDLINK format. (
McAdams, David E.)
12/30/2008: Added vocabulary link to approximate. (
McAdams, David E.)
6/7/2008: Corrected spelling. (
McAdams, David E.)
7/12/2007: Initial version. (
McAdams, David E.)