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Equation of a Parabola

Standard Form and Vertex Form Equations

This page: Vertex Form Equation | Graph parabola from Vertex Form | Identify Vertex from
Equation
Standard Form Equation
Related Pages: How to convert equations from standard to vertex form and back

The equation of a parabola can be expressed in either standard or vertex form as shown in the
picture below.

Standard Form Equation


The standard form of a parabola's equation is generally expressed:

y = ax 2 + bx + c
o The role of 'a'
If a> 0, the parabola opens upwards
if a< 0, it opens downwards.
o The axis of symmetry

The axis of symmetry is the line x = -b/2a

Picture of Standard form equation Axis of Symmetry from Standard Form


Vertex Form of Equation
The vertex form of a parabola's equation is generally expressed as :
y= a(x-h)2+k
(h,k) is the vertex as you can see in the picture below

If a is positive then the parabola opens upwards like a regular "U".


If a is negative, then the graph opens downwards like an upside down "U".

If |a| > 1, the graph of the parabola widens. This just means that the "U" shape of parabola
stretches out sideways .
If |a| < 1, the graph of the graph becomes narrower(The effect is the opposite of |a| > 1).
Practice Problems
Vertex and Direction-Vertex Form Equation

Part I

1) What is the graph of the following parabola y = (x1) + 1?


The parabola's vertex is the point (1,1).

2) What is the graph of the following parabola y = (x1) + 1?


3) What is the graph of the following parabola y = (x+2) 3?

Identifying the vertex in vertex form


1) What is the vertex of the following parabola:
y = (x + 3) + 4

The vertex is the point (-3,4)

2) Find the vertex of the following parabola:


y = (x - 3) + 4
(3,4) is the vertex.
3) What is the vertex of the parabola whose vertex form equation is
y = (x - 2) - 3

Vertex is (2, 3)
Part III

1) What is the vertex of a parabola with the following equation:


y= 2(x-3)2+4 ? Does the parabola open upwards or downwards?

The vertex is (3,4) and it opens upwards since a is positive( it is 2), it opens upwards .

2) If a parabola's equation is y = 3(x+3)2 +4, what is its vertex? Which way does it open?
Vertex = (-3,4), and it opens upwards since a is positive.

3) A parabola has the equation y = -22(x - 9)2 + 5. What is its vertex? Which way does the
parabola open?
Vertex = (9, 5) and since a is negative (it is -22), it opens downwards.
This page: Vertex Form Equation | Graph parabola from Vertex Form | Identify Vertex from
Equation
Standard Form Equation
Related Pages: Parabola Home |Axis of Symmetry |Standard and Vertex Forms of Equation|Real
World Applications | Converting between Standard and Vertex Forms | Tangent of Parabola| area
of parabola | pictures

Vertex from Standard Form Equation

The standard form equation of a parabola is


y = ax + bx + c
To find the vertex of a parabola from the standard equation, use the following formula

The x coordinate = -b/2a


To find the y coordinate substitute this value (-b/2a) into the equation
This page: Vertex Form Equation | Graph parabola from Vertex Form | Identify Vertex from
Equation
Standard Form Equation
Related Pages: How to convert equations from standard to vertex form and back

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