Education Technology

Precalculus: Parametric Ball Toss
by Texas Instruments

Published on November 30, 2011


  • Students will be able to use parametric equations to represent the height of a ball as a function of time as well as the path of a ball that has been thrown straight up.
  • Students will be able to analyze parametric equations and use them to find information about the height of the ball and the time the ball is in the air.


  • parabola
  • parametric equations
  • quadratic equations

About the Lesson

This lesson involves determining the height of a ball at a given time and determining the time at which the ball is at a certain height.
As a result, students will:

  • Discover the similarities and differences between the height versus time graph and the graph of the path of the ball.
  • Understand that, while the height versus time graph is parabolic, the ball actually goes straight up and down.
  • Analyze how the solutions to an equation relate to the real-world situation modeled by the equation.