Description: Scientists use conic sections to map the trajectories of spacecraft in flight. The setting for this episode is a planned future flight to Mars. As the ship travels from Earth to Mars, parabolic, circular, and elliptical paths are explored. In the process students will learn the difference between a quadratic relation and a quadratic function. The liftoff and pre-orbital path of the rocket is described by a parabola. Students explore the properties of parabolas from the standpoint of the parametric equations that describe the horizontal and vertical directions of motion for the rocket.
Grade Range: 6-12, college developmental math
Curriculum Standards:
Copyright: ©2011
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