Quadratic Performance Task

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SWBAT translate from among verbal, numeric, algebraic and graphical representations of quadratic functions.

Big Idea

Flexibility with quadratic functions is put to the test in this puzzle-like quadratic performance task. Various starting points are provided and the goal is to represent each function in all ways we have studied.


20 minutes

As a warm-up, I present students with the x-intercepts (x=3 and x=-1) and y-intercept (y=6) of a quadratic expression and ask them to use the template Warm-Up Quadratic Functions to practice translating the quadratic into its other algebraic forms, graphing, and reporting interesting features of the graph.  This warm-up will be challenging for some students because they will be unsure of how to find the value of "a," the coefficient of the squared term.  If they are struggling, I remind them that the y-intercept tells them the coordinates of one point on the curve.    I make a second copy of this template on the back of the page so that students who complete the exercise quickly can be given a second, more challenging quadratic function to work with.  I find that students generally enjoy the puzzle-like aspect of this activity [MP7].

As students complete the warm-up, I check homework with the homework rubricIf there are questions on the homework I will spend a few minutes answering them before we continue our discussion of solving quadratic equations. As always, I try to maximize persistence in homework problems by providing answers on Edmodo and asking students to check their answers before they arrive in class [MP1].

Explore and Extend

70 minutes

In the Quadratic Performance Task, each student is given an 11" by 17" piece of paper with a preprinted 7X7 table.  Each row contains various starting points for defining a quadratic function and the student's goal is to provide all missing information about that function (standard form, vertex form, intercepts, graph, etc) [MP6].

The idea of this task is to give students the opportunity to persist in a challenging task [MP1] and put everything they have learned about quadratic functions together in one activity [MP2, MP7, MP8].  

I ask students to complete this activity independently, although I do not mind if they work side-by-side with another student and check in from time-to time.  I do not limit graphing calculator use on this activity but I do ask that they make a sound algebraic argument when translating from one form to the other [MP3]. I discuss my expectations for this type of argument in the reflection Sound Algebraic Arguments.

This activity, although very challenging for students, tends to be very popular and a source of pride for students who complete it.  This will take at least an hour for most students to complete.