My name is Ashley and I am a junior therefore meaning that I am on a secondary level. I am a student and my teacher recently gave us the assignment of writing a portfolio on parabolas in life and finding examples, three to be in fact, only we have to go into detail about only one. We have been instructed to include such terms as: axis of symmetry, completing the square, parabola, quadratic formula, standard form (vertex form) and vertex. We also must include in our detailed example an equation of the parabola and very specific details, PLEASE HELP! I would really appreciate it!
If you go to the Resource Room section of Math Central and search for the keyword parabola you will find a note titled "Why are satellite dishes parabolic?" This will give you one example of a situation where parabolas are used. If you can find a store that sells satellite dishes they may have a pamplet with dimensions that will let you write the equation of the parabola. Another devise that uses the same reflective property of a parabola is an overhead parabola. If you have an overhead projector in your classroom and you look inside you will find a metallic mirror in the shape of a parabola with the light bulb at the focus.
In the Quandaries and Queries section of Math Central is a note titled "Bridges and parabolas". This will show you another practical application of parabolas. You can find it by searching for the keyword bridges.I hope this helps,