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Match My Parabola

Develop your students’ graphing abilities with this multi-day series of quadratic function challenges:

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Lesson Notes

Several weeks ago I shared a series of linear graphing challenges. The results in my classes (even my “advanced” classes) were wonderful. What follows below is a set of 10 “Match My Parabola” challenges.

Collectively, the goal is to develop student proficiency with graphing quadratic functions in vertex form, factored form, and standard form. While sliders are appropriate (especially in the early going), students will develop a stronger and deeper connections between the numerical, graphical, and algebraic representations if they enter the functions without sliders.

Here’s a recap of three options for implementing this style of challenge:

  1. Display the slide image (graph plus brief directions, included below) via projector and have students work on a new Desmos graph
  2. Direct students to the graph URL (included below)
  3. Print a copy of the slide image and have students work with pencil and paper only

Again, depending on your classroom situation, you may find that one of those works better than another. My preference is for #1-2.

Also, though I typically advocate for 2:1 computing with almost all Desmos activities (2 students, 1 device), for this series of challenges I would recommend a 1:1 setup. Student collaboration is still a valuable element of this lesson, but requiring every student to apply what they’re discussing to their own Desmos graph has proved useful with each of my classes.

One final note before we get to the goods: This is not intended to be a single lesson, but rather 10 separate mini-challenges. Depending on your students, the challenges may take anywhere from 2 to 20 minutes (or even longer). To keep this format fresh, and to keep students engaged, I recommend a “short and sweet” approach, rather than packing several challenges into a graph-matching-marathon.

Match My Parabola #1

Match My Parabola.001

https://www.desmos.com/calculator/m083poazwx

Match My Parabola #2

Match My Parabola.002

https://www.desmos.com/calculator/cyh2dlekyr

Match My Parabola #3

Match My Parabola.003

https://www.desmos.com/calculator/c93eqhfqwk

Match My Parabola #4

Match My Parabola.004

https://www.desmos.com/calculator/ehdogua8de

Match My Parabola #5

Match My Parabola.005

https://www.desmos.com/calculator/nqz3afgbe5

Match My Parabola #6

Match My Parabola.006

https://www.desmos.com/calculator/kfjvxj70ze

Match My Parabola #7

Match My Parabola.007

https://www.desmos.com/calculator/qlmvioixym

Match My Parabola #8

Match My Parabola.008

https://www.desmos.com/calculator/lhubev4agm

Match My Parabola #9

Match My Parabola.009

https://www.desmos.com/calculator/e9kvhjcttk

Match My Parabola #10

Match My Parabola.010

https://www.desmos.com/calculator/riayohzxbk

Extensions

  1. Create your own “Match My Parabola” challenge (related to vertex form).
  2. Create your own “Match My Parabola” challenge (related to factored form).
  3. Create your own “Match My Parabola” challenge (related to standard form).

Resources

Standards

  • CCSS 8.F.B
    Define, evaluate, and compare functions.
  • CCSS HSF.IF.C
    Analyze functions using different representations.
  • CCSS HSF.LE.A
    Construct and compare linear, quadratic, and exponential models and solve problems.

Shout Outs

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