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Parabolas Everywhere?

Author(s): Aleksandra Kaplon-Schilis

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Summary:
In this lesson students will use mathematical models to describe real-world objects and to gain better understanding of quadratic functions.

Licensed under CC Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International according to these terms

Version 1.0 - published on 22 Jun 2021 doi:10.25334/VK87-8V16 - cite this

Contents:

Description

Parabolas can be seen everywhere around us. The main idea behind this lesson is to use mathematical models to describe real-world objects and to gain better understanding of quadratic functions. Students will be introduced to real-life examples of parabolas found in architecture and nature. After exploring the examples of parabolas, students will search their own examples of parabolas using their surroundings, and everyday objects, and find an equation to fit their curve. 

During the lesson, students will investigate whether their selected parabolas can be modeled with a mathematical equation. While working on finding their equation students will question the appropriateness of their model. Discussion on the importance of choosing appropriate points and scale of the graph will guide students in finding whether their picture truly represents a parabola. The teacher will prompt students to observe what happens with their model when they make adjustments to their data or when they select different points. Students will have to justify the selection of the best equation that fits their data and discuss features of their graph in context of their quadratic function.

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