Instructional Unit: Conic Sections


One of the most interesting topics I have had the opportunity to teach is Conic Sections. Most instruction that I have seen has focused on graphing the four conics from their standard equations and incorporating vertical and horizontal shifts for conics that are not centered on the origin.

In the following lessons, understanding of three of the four conics (parabolas, ellipses, and hyperbolas) is achieved through explorations of the properties stated in their definitions.

Each lesson incorporates group-based learning, with four person groups completing an exploratory task each day. Each lesson has directions that guide student exploration and culminating questions to organize student thought and understanding.

Lesson 1 - Ellipses

Lesson 2 - Parabolas

Lesson 3 - Hyperbolas