# 0.0: Prelude to Linear Functions

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Imagine placing a small plant in the ground one day and finding that it grown to the height of a human being just a few days later.  Although it may seem incredible, this can happen with certain types of bamboo species. These members of the grass family are the fastest-growing plants in the world.  One species of bamboo has been observed to grow nearly 1.5 inches every hour.1  In a twenty-four hour period, it grows about 36 inches, or an incredible 3 feet!  A constant rate of change, such as the growth pattern of this bamboo plant, is the identifying characteristic of a linear function.

Figure $$\PageIndex{1}$$: A bamboo forest in China (credit: “JFXie”/Flickr)

As we will see in Chapter 1, Section 1, a function is a relation that assigns to every element in the domain exactly one element in the range. Linear functions are a specific type of function that can be used to model many real-world applications, such as plant growth over time. In this chapter, we will explore linear functions, their graphs, and how to relate them to data.

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