The Vertex and Axis of Symmetry - Problem 8 141 views

Teacher/Instructor Alissa Fong
Alissa Fong

MA, Stanford University
Teaching in the San Francisco Bay Area

Alissa is currently a teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area and Brightstorm users love her clear, concise explanations of tough concepts

As with any function in math, you can create a graph by choosing x values to substitute and finding their corresponding y values. This process an be much less labor intensive if you choose your x values in a clever way. Since parabolas have key points around the vertex, if we can find the vertex to begin with and use that as the center of the table, we'll be able to see where the parabola has its turning point. The first step is to use x = -b/2a to find the x value of the vertex, and then choose x values on either side of that vertex value. If done correctly, the y values in the table will be symmetric around the vertex. You'll learn more shortcuts with practice.

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