Exploring Quadratic Functions

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SWBAT explore the characteristics of a quadratic function.

Big Idea

Students will discover the unique characteristics of a parabola through a guided investigation.


10 minutes

Students will factor 4 trinomial expressions with a > 1 for today's Do Now. After 5 minutes, student volunteers will come to the board to display their responses for the class.

A student will then read the objective, "SWBAT explore the characteristics of a quadratic function."

I will ask students if they have heard the word "quadratic" before in a previous math class, and to make a prediction about its meaning by identifying and interpreting its root word.

Partner Activity: Investigating Quadratic Functions

60 minutes

We this lesson we begin our Quadratics unit. It will be a smooth transition for my students, as this Unit succeeds their study of Polynomials. My students will be familiar with polynomials and factoring. They will not have seen the graph of a quadratic function in recent lessons.

To begin our study of quadratics, my students will work in homogeneous pairs to complete the Quadratics Investigation. The objective of this activity is to introduce students to the key characteristics of quadratic functions.

Graphing calculators (GDC) are needed to complete the last section of the Investigation. My students have used GDCs in previous classes, but this will be the first time that they will be used in a multi-step problem. Since the GDC is such an important tool for students as they advance into higher level mathematics classes, it is important that they become comfortable with its use in lower grades. Students best develop this GDC intuition through individual practice and troubleshooting, so I will stray away from teacher-led keystrokes. Students will be encouraged to use this Reference Sheet, which will guide them through the execution of a few essential GDC operations. 


10 minutes

With about ten minutes remaining, the class will reconvene as a whole group. I will ask the class to summarize today's activity and to think of examples of parabolas that they have seen in the real world. I will Google search student responses as they say them, so that all students have the opportunity to see more representations of this shape.

Lastly, I will ask students to compare and contrast the use of triangles and parabolas in architecture and construction, and to decide if these structures of this shape are interchangeable.