Algebra II got a curriculum shuffle this year, putting Conic Sections over six weeks earlier than when we traditionally teach them. It just so happens that this lines up with when I normally go through Conics with Pre Cal. My prep time being what it is (low) and my new found hobby of making things up at the last minute, I found myself with a poster-type activity but no real time to gather the posters. Plus, field trips and a blood drive conspired against my attendance. So rather than create a lot of posters with incomplete groups, we merged everyone. And I mean everyone.

The idea was simple. We were generating graphs of parabolas. The students had to determine orientation, vertex, focal distance, directrix distance (Pre-Cal only), and the width using what the equation presented them. The form of the equation was different depending on the prep. Pre-Cal had some that required completing the square, the Algebra II ones were a little more straight forward. A paragraph was projected that they had to complete describing all of the parabola's aspects. These were part of a six question problem set and everyone at a given table had to choose a unique problem to repreent. They completed all of them on their own and reproduced a single one for display purposes. They had a single class period to finish their work on the full set and get one hung up outside.

Some samples:


And the completed product:


I might consider doing this again when we get to the rest of the conics, we shall see. This is easily adaptable to any graphing task.

AuthorJonathan Claydon