Quadratics Keywords Poster

Whenever we start our projectile motion unit in Algebra 2 I panic just a little. OK, a lot! Since the wording of these problems always tricks my students, I wanted to make a quick reference for the keywords they will see in the problems. Before introducing word problems, I teach my students how to find maximums and zeros of parabolas on the graphing calculator. Since "left bound" and "right bound" can always be tricky, I hang this projectile motion poster to remind everyone where the cursors go:

To make a poster
I wrote a post about a free way to enlarge any pdf into a homemade classroom-sized poster. I am still using the posters that I made last year. Our keywords poster is all marked up but it still works great. You can see the poster directly above hanging on our math word wall

Before ever introducing numbers, we do this quick quadratic keywords sorting activity. It gets students looking for the keywords that will signal whether they are being asked to find the positive zero or a value at the maximum. Then it's time to introduce the numbers. 

Projectile Motion warm up template

To practice as soon as students come into class, everyone grabs a warm up template and writes the equation I write on the board. We start every class this way so that students get the practice they need. I love warm up templates and use them a lot in my Algebra 2 class. You can check out all of my free warm up templates to see if any might work with your students.

Projectile Motion warm up template

Here is an example of the template all filled out. I give 1 point for each correct answer and count it as classwork credit whether I give it as a graded warm up or a a quick check for understanding (or to get kids back in their seats!

This might be a big controversial, but I do not to assess our projectile motion unit with a test. In 2 weeks, my students go from never having touched a graphing calculator to finding how long objects are in the air in quadratic word problems. This is AWESOME! And I don't want a bad grade on a test to take away from the confidence my students have built. That being said, my students have a history of repeatedly failing tests all throughout school, which is the main reason I often choose to forego tests. 

Instead of a test, I give a set of task cards as our final assessment and allow students to work together. They are allowed to use all of the reference sheets and posters we have used throughout the unit and to ask each other and me questions. One of my students asked if he could take his cards home to work on! This made me feel good.

Depending on the needs of the students I have each year in Algebra 2, we use different activities in this Quadratics bundle. Some years my students need additional support, other years they just need a little extra practice. 

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