Grade Levels: 11th Grade,
Topics: Algebra 2
Common Core State Standard: F-IF.4, F-IF.7a,

Quadratic elliptical equations

Knowledge and Skills:
  • Is familiar with elliptical paths as they are represented by quadratic equations
  • Is familiar with the specifics of the ellipse equations as to graphing them

Pencils, paper, graphing paper, student handout

Download the Teacher Guide PDFDownload the Student PDF

This lesson begins as a class discussion and ends with each student
filling out the handout individually.
1. Watch the Futures Channel video “Planetary Defense” with the class.
2. Discuss elliptical patterns and paths as far as their ability to simplistically map
the paths of the movements of celestial bodies.
3. As needed remind students of the specifics of using a and b as the semi
major and semi minor axis of the ellipse in order to get the x and y intercepts
down before finding more specific points along the line.
4. Give the students the attached handout