The BIG Question: In what ways are different forms of the quadratic equation useful?
Card Sorts are excellent activities. They offer flexibility! A card sort can be used at several different levels. It can be used as a discovery activity, a pre-test, and a post-test. The sort can be used as both a formative and a summative activity. The card sort works well if you use math stations. Students can work on the card sorts individually or in pairs. Sorts can be glued into notebooks, or checked as they are completed on the desk. (See my blog post on Card Sorts: http://bit.ly/whycardsorts )
This is a set of 24 cards representing 8 quadratic equations expressed using three different forms: vertex, standard, and factored forms. Students match the graph to the equation and vertex. The vertex should be obvious from the graph and should assist students in identifying the equations that match. While sorting the cards, encourage students to notice the characteristics of the graphs hidden in the equations. In what ways are different forms of the quadratic equation useful?
I use this activity on Day 1 of our Quadratics unit in Algebra 2 to determine what students know from previous studies. It could also be used as a formative assessment after instruction.
Besides asking students to match the cards, you could also ask them to identify the key characteristics of each such as the axis of symmetry and intercepts of the functions represented.
I use this card sort with a graphic organizer - linked here:
Quadratics Graphic Organizer - Comparing Forms of Equations