Math = Love: Conic Section Interactive Notebook Pages

Friday, February 21, 2014

Conic Section Interactive Notebook Pages

I'm so sad to be finished with conic sections.  I just love them that much.  My students, on the other hand, are quite glad to be done with conics.  We've moved on to sequences and series in Algebra 2, and I have a lot of students who are in love with that chapter.  I'm just excited to see them excited about something!

Here is what our interactive notebooks ended up looking like for conic sections.

As always, the unit began with a table of contents.

Conic Sections Table of Contents
I actually taught parabolas as part of Unit 6 - Quadratic Functions.  So, the page of formulas for parabolas was actually found in the last chapter of their notebooks.  I'm going to go ahead and include that page as if it was in the Conic Sections Unit.

I posted about it earlier, but I gave my students a flow chart from Rebecka Peterson to help them identify which conic section corresponded with a given equation.

Classifying Conic Sections Flow Chart

The formulas and information I gave students were taken from Cindy Johnson's Conic Cards.  The conic card file contains cards for the students to use that have these formulas on them.  But, I decided I wanted my students to have something in their notebook to reference this year.  I like how these pages turned out, and I'm thinking of doing away with the information cards altogether next year in the conic card decks.  

Conic Section: Parabola Formulas
Next, I made a booklet foldable for my students to practice graphing 9 parabolas in.

Parabola Graphing Practice Foldable Booklet
Students had to identify how the parabola opened and the vertex of the parabola.  Then, they sketched the graph.
Parabola Practice - Foldable Example
Here's what the inside of the booklet foldable looked like.  These were graded for accuracy as part of their notebook check.

I have attached the files below.  The formulas for the practice problems were not written in, so you could give students any parabola equations that you choose to.

Next up, circles!  We took notes over the formulas for circles.

Conic Section: Circle Formulas
And, students got lots of practice graphing circles in their booklet foldable.

Circle Practice Booklet Foldable
Here's a close-up of the example circle I graphed with my students.  I really, really, really should have used a compass!  Students were required to identify the center and radius of the circle in addition to graphing the circle.
Circle Practice - Foldable Example
Here are our two pages on circles, side by side.

Interactive Notebook Pages - Conic Sections: Circles
We explored ellipses next.  As always, we started off by looking at the formulas for ellipses.

Conic Section: Ellipse Formulas
We graphed nine different ellipses for lots of practice.

Ellipse Practice Booklet Foldable
Here are the two ellipse pages, side by side.

Interactive Notebook Pages - Conic Sections: Ellipses
And, here's a close-up that details how I showed students to graph their ellipses.  I tried to employ Color With a Purpose (CWP) here.  I wrote the center in blue and graphed the center in blue.  I wrote the a value in orange and used the orange marker to show how to use the a value to find points on the ellipse.  I did the same thing with the b value.
Ellipse Practice - Foldable Example

Last, but not least, we explored hyperbolas.  Hyperbolas are my least favorite conic section.  I didn't want my prejudice against hyperbolas to rub off on my students, so I actually told my students that hyperbolas were my favorite conic section to graph.  I'm not sure how convincing I was, but I did hear some students remark that hyperbolas weren't as hard to graph as they first imagined them to be.

Here are the formulas for hyperbolas.

Conic Section: Hyperbola Formulas
There was barely enough information on our Hyperbola Practice booklet foldable to write out the information needed to graph each hyperbola.  But, we made it fit!

Hyperbola Practice Booklet Foldable
Here's a close-up of my beautiful hyperbola.  I make my students identify the center, a value, b value, asymptotes, and vertices of each hyperbola before graphing.  I have found that students do a much better job at graphing if they have identified this information beforehand.

Hyperbola Practice - Foldable Example
Here are the two pages we made for hyperbolas, side by side.

Interactive Notebook Pages - Conic Sections: Hyperbolas
Download files here.


  1. thank you it's helped me to teach math in class

  2. Sarah,
    Did you do the notes and practice before you had the students do the conic card sort, or did you have them struggle with the sort first?

    1. I give them the notes without any explanation. Then, they attempt the sort and try to make sense of the notes. Finally, we do the practice.