*Contributor: Jamie Hagler. Lesson ID: 13794*

Have you ever tried to hit a curveball? Math can throw curves at you too. Check out this lesson and learn all about parabolas!

categories

subject

Math

learning style

Visual

personality style

Golden Retriever

Grade Level

High School (9-12)

Lesson Type

Skill Sharpener

- We see lines everywhere in math, but what about arches and curves?

- What happens when information increases and then decreases?
- What about when it decreases and then increases?

Curves are everywhere in math -- we just need to look for them!

A parabola is a U-shaped graph that opens up or down. The equation, which forms a parabola, is called a *quadratic function* and is in the form *y* = *ax*^{2} + *bx*+ *c*.

Graphing a parabola can be challenging, but here is a sure-fire way to get it done!

Let's look at the quadratic function *y* = *x*^{2} - 2*x* -* *3.

Substitute the *x* values listed below into this quadratic function to determine the corresponding *y* values:

* *

Here is what it looks like as we substitute each *x* into the function. Notice when we substitute the first *x*, which is -1, we will get 0. So, the first point is (-1,0). Then we repeat for each remaining *x*.

Now, we need to plot each of those points on the graph. As you see, instead of a line, we have a curve called a parabola!

- What would make the parabola open in the opposite direction?

Let's go to the *Got It?* section to find out!

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