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Lesson Topic: Properties of Parabolas

1. Students will be able to calculate the coordinates of the vertex of a parabola when given
the (x,y) coordinates of the focus and the linear equation of the directrix.
2. Students will be able to calculate the leading coefficient (a) in the vertex form of a
parabola, y = a(x h)2 + k, by the formula , where p is the displacement (distance and
direction) from the focus to the vertex.

3. Students will be able to use the vertex form of a parabola, y = a(x h)2 + k, to derive the
equation of a parabola when given the (x,y) coordinates of the focus and the linear
equation of the directrix.
4. Students will be able to plot the focus, directrix, vertex, and parabolic curve on an x-y
coordinate plane.
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?


Axis of Symmetry

Midpoint Parabola Vertex


Standard Form of a parabola is y = ax2 +bx+c Axis of Symmetry is the line

Students should already know how to:

Determine the midpoint of a segmentDetermine the distance on a coordinate gridSimplify

complex fractionsHave a basic understanding of parabolas, their equations, and their


1. Explain how a parabola and a conic section relate to each other. By taking different slices
through a cone you can create a circle, an ellipse, a parabola or a hyperbola.
2. How do parabolas and quadratics relate? They both represent the set of equations for
second order polynomials y = ax2 + bx + c
3. What are examples of parabolas you have seen or encountered in the real world? Answers
will vary.
Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?

First, the teacher will begin the lesson by placing students into cooperative learning
groups of 3 to 4 students. Each group will be tasked with answering the questions on the
"Opening Questions" worksheet. It is the teacher's choice to have the students copy the
opening questions or project the questions for the students.

The purpose of the cooperative group exercise is to engage students in communication

about the content prior to introducing the new content. The teacher will check the
opening exercise by having students share their answers with the class. The teacher will
provide praise for correct thinking and positively correct any errors in reasoning.


1. The teacher will introduce the learning scale and goals for the lesson, and allow
students to rate themselves before being taught the lesson. Please see the attached
learning scale provided for in this lesson.

2. The teacher will introduce the new content of deriving the equation of a parabola given
the focus and directrix. The new content will be introduced as outlined below:

A. Introduce new vocabulary: Directrix Displacement Distance Focus

B. "Distance versus Displacement" worksheet: The teacher will provide students with the
resource "Distance versus Displacement" worksheet. The "Distance versus
Displacement" worksheet covers the concept of displacement in detail, and reminds
students of how the orientation/shape of the parabola and the leading coefficient "a" are
C. Worked example:1. The teacher will provide students with the "Reference Sheet"
worksheet.2. The teacher will encourage students to take notes on the reference sheet
because they will be using this reference during the independent practice activity. 3. The
teacher will guide students through the worked example and address any questions the
students may have about the content.4. The teacher will gauge student questions and
responses, and change the pace of instruction if needed, prior to moving to the
independent practice activity.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher

1. Students will work in groups to complete the 2 problems on the "Guided Practice"

2. The teacher will start working the first problem with the students. The teacher will
work approximately half of the first problem with the students, and then let the students
work in groups from that point forward.

3. This practice will be checked using peer response groups. The teacher will ask for
group volunteers to display their answers on the board or project their answers using a
document camera controlled by the teacher.
Closure: 1. The teacher will use the comparison matrix on the "Independent Practice"
worksheet to organize the findings from the four problems provided on the worksheet.

2. Students will share their answers with the class, and the teacher will create a "master"
student-generated matrix based on the feedback of the students. The class will review and
discuss the "master" matrix as closure to the assignment.

3. The "master" matrix can be projected on the board, or a poster sized matrix can be used
to fill in the student responses.

4. The teacher will distribute the "Summative Assessment" worksheet. Please note that
the summative assessment can be completed at the end of the class period or at the
beginning of the following class period.

Summative Assessment

As a summative assessment, students will be given the "Summative Assessment"


Formative Assessment

Throughout the course of this lesson, the teacher will:

1. Access the prior knowledge of students by utilizing engaging activities and cooperative
learning groups.2. Check for understanding by walking around the classroom and
observing students as they work.3. Check for understanding by asking guiding or
clarifying questions.4. Help improve understanding by observing the work product of
students and providing specific recommendations about their process or strategy. 5. Help
improve student understanding by revising the pace and/or order of the lesson content as


1. Teachers may use the "Parabola Spreadsheet" provided in this lesson to adjust the
complexity, length, or pace of the lesson to help struggling students. 2. Color-coding
graphs with colored pencils could also help visual learners see the parabolic relationships.