Education Technology

Exploring the Parabola

Published on 03/02/2011

Activity Overview

This activity explores the key features of the parabola, both geometrically and algebraically. A variety of interactive representations support student learning as they build their understanding of this important curve and its real-world applications.

Key Steps

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    This activity begins dramatically as students follow very simple instructions leading to the envelope of lines shown here.

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    The next phase of the lesson introduces the algebraic notation for the quadratic function, and invites students to engage in the unique “manual regression” which this technology makes possible!

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    Finally, a link to the real world—the defining property of the parabola, which explains so many of the applications of this important curve!