The Parabola

Quadratic Functions

Why study the parabola?

The parabola has many applications in real life. For example, radiation enters the parabola in an almost parallel fashion. It is concentrated on a single point where the antenna's receiver is placed. The parabola is a graph of a quadratic function. The quadratic equation is important to real-world models.


Parabolic Reflector Animation (QuickTime animation)


Where can I see more parabolas?

The pictures below show that the path of the water, a baseball and a golf ball draw as parabolas.

You have seen that the graphs of functions of the form f(x) = ax + b are lines. Parabolas are the graphs of a family of functions known as quadratic functions. A quadratic function has a squared term.

A quadratic function is a function of the form f(x) = a + bx = c, where a, b, and c are real- number constants and a is not 0.

In this site, you can review parabolas using simulations in the various examples. Most of the simulators are from explorelearning web sites. It has very useful simulations and quiz. You can log in free for a one month trial. Please start the review from Lesson 1.

last modified March 20, 2005

Misoon Park: e-mail