Glossary for Lesson 13: More Parabolas


The vertex of a parabola is the point at which the parabola itself intersects its axis of symmetry, the line that divides it in half.  For parabolas that open upward, the vertex is the lowest point on the curve, the minimum.  For parabolas that open downward, the vertex is the highest point on the curve, the maximum.

Vertex Form for the Equation of a Parabola

If the coordinates of the vertex of a parabola are (h,k) , then the equation of the parabola can be written in vertex form as:


where a is a constant.  If a>0 , the parabola opens upward, and if a<0 , it opens downward.