In preparation for work with quadratic relationships students explore distinctions between rational and irrational numbers. They consider quadratic functions, comparing the key characteristics of quadratic functions to those of linear and exponential functions. They select from among these functions to model phenomena. Students learn to anticipate the graph of a quadratic function by interpreting various forms of quadratic expressions. In particular, they identify the real solutions of a quadratic equation as the zeros of a related quadratic function. Students learn that when quadratic equations do not have real solutions the number system must be extended so that solutions exist, analogous to the way in which extending the whole numbers to the negative numbers allows x+1 = 0 to have a solution. Formal work with complex numbers comes in Algebra II. Students expand their experience with functions to include more specialized functions—absolute value, step, and those that are piecewise-defined.