By: Hannah Norton


A parabola is a two-dimensional, mirror-symmetrical curve, which is approximately U-shaped when oriented as shown in the diagram, but which can be in any orientation in its plane.

Example: If you kick a soccer ball, it will arc up into the air and come down again


A quadratic is a formula involving the second and no higher power of an unknown quantity or variable.


A point where two or more straight lines meet (A corner.)

Axis of Symmetry

A line through a shape so that each side is a mirror image.

Example: Draw a line in the middle of a circle so that each side is equal.

Maximum Value

The largest value.

Example: The top of the parabola.

Minimum value

The smallest value.

Example: The bottom of the parabola.


a single number, a variable, or numbers and variables multiplied together.

First Differences

The difference in y-values for consecutive x-values in a table.

Second Differences

When the x-differences are all constant, then the second differences are useful in telling if a set of data is nearly quadratic or not.

Zeros (roots)

Where a function equals the value zero.