The students will attempt to match the shape of a digital picture with an equation in vertex form.
Before the Activity
If you are using the TI-Navigator System with the TI-73 you will need the attached .pdf file.
Before playing "Match the Graph", some instruction about vertex form must be done. Use regular instruction in the class, along with practice problems on paper, work with the calculator, and stacks of StudyCards™.
During the Activity
During the activity, use the TI Navigator to place a picture in the background of the Activity Center graphing grid. At first, you might place it so that the vertex is centered at (0,0). The main focus of the activity will be around the values for "a". Move the axes around and change the scale, and the students will have to change various parts of their equations! Have fun!
After the Activity
After the activity, students can be assigned to taking digital photographs themselves, or searching the internet for photos that resemble parabolas. Of course, an extension might involve a look at the catenary curves...
Taking a picture of a fountain, and then plotting some points could then be followed up with a quadratic regression on the calculators as well.