By Bix, 9th

While they may seem like a far out, impractical math concept, they are really very common in everyday life. Like anytime you hit a ball and it arcs through the sky, or when a rocket launches and lands. Parabolas are second degree functions, meaning they include a variable that is squared. The formula for a parabola is ax^2 +bx+c, where a is the leading coefficient and c is the y-intercept, or constant. Depending on the sign of the leading coefficient, or the number in front of x^2, the parabola can either open up or down. If the coefficient is positive the parabola will open up, whereas if it is negative, it will open down.

The vertex of a parabola is the highest or lowest point in the parabola. To find the vertex, use the formula -b/2a. All parabolas are symmetrical. This means that if you find the location of a point on one side of the parabola, you can place a point on the same place across the axis of symmetry, an invisible line that goes through the vertex. There are three ways to find where the graph will cross the x-axis: Completing the Square, Factoring and using the Quadratic Formula. These points have many names, including x-intercepts, zeros, answers, solutions, etc.

Have fun using this new knowledge to show off to all your friends! Leave me a comment!

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