# How to graph quadratic functions

Step 1: Identify the Coefficients

In the equation y = ax^2 + bx + c, identify the values of a, b, and c. These coefficients determine the shape, direction, and position of the parabola:

• a represents the coefficient of the quadratic term and determines whether the parabola opens upward (a > 0) or downward (a < 0).
• b represents the coefficient of the linear term and affects the slope of the parabola.
• c is the constant term and determines the vertical shift (up or down) of the parabola.

Step 2: Find the Axis of Symmetry

The axis of symmetry is a vertical line that divides the parabola into two symmetrical halves. Its equation is x = -\frac{b}{2a}. This line passes through the vertex of the parabola.

Step 3: Calculate the Vertex

The vertex of the parabola is the point where it reaches its highest or lowest value. To find the vertex, substitute x = -\frac{b}{2a} into the quadratic function to get the y-coordinate: y = a\left(-\frac{b}{2a}\right)^2 + b\left(-\frac{b}{2a}\right) + c.

Simplify to find y, which is the y-coordinate of the vertex.

Step 4: Plot the Vertex

Plot the vertex (x, y) on the coordinate plane.

Step 5: Determine the Direction of the Parabola

Based on the sign of a, determine whether the parabola opens upward (a > 0) or downward (a < 0).

To sketch the rest of the parabola, choose a few values of x and calculate the corresponding y values using the quadratic equation. Typically, you’d choose x values symmetrically around the axis of symmetry for ease of plotting.

Step 7: Plot the Points and Draw the Parabola

Plot the additional points you calculated and draw a smooth curve that passes through these points, creating the parabolic shape.

Step 8: Label Axes and Add a Title

Label the x-axis and y-axis with appropriate values and add a title to your graph.

Step 9: Check for Intercepts

If necessary, find and plot the x-intercepts (where y = 0) by setting y = 0 and solving for x.

That’s it! You’ve successfully graphed a quadratic function. Remember to adjust your graph’s scale and window to ensure the entire parabola is visible on the coordinate plane.

y = 2x^2 - 4x + 3

Step 1: Identify the Coefficients

In this equation, a = 2, b = -4, and c = 3. These coefficients determine the shape and position of the parabola.

Step 2: Find the Axis of Symmetry

The axis of symmetry is given by:

x = -\frac{b}{2a}

In this case:

x = -\frac{-4}{2 \cdot 2} = 1

Step 3: Calculate the Vertex

To find the vertex, substitute x = 1 into the quadratic function:

y = 2(1)^2 - 4(1) + 3 = 2 - 4 + 3 = 1

So, the vertex is at (1, 1).

Step 4: Plot the Vertex

Plot the vertex at (1, 1) on the coordinate plane.

Step 5: Determine the Direction of the Parabola

Since a = 2 (positive), the parabola opens upward.

Choose some values of x to find corresponding y values. Let’s pick x = 0, x = 2, and x = 3:

• For x = 0:
y = 2(0)^2 - 4(0) + 3 = 0 - 0 + 3 = 3

So, we have the point (0, 3).

• For x = 2:
y = 2(2)^2 - 4(2) + 3 = 8 - 8 + 3 = 3

So, we have the point (2, 3).

• For x = 3:
y = 2(3)^2 - 4(3) + 3 = 18 - 12 + 3 = 9

So, we have the point (3, 9).

Step 7: Plot the Points and Draw the Parabola

Plot the points (0, 3), (2, 3), and (3, 9), and then draw a smooth curve that passes through these points, forming the parabolic shape.

Step 8: Label Axes and Add a Title

Label the x-axis and y-axis with appropriate values, and add a title to your graph if needed.

Step 9: Check for Intercepts

To find the x-intercepts (where y = 0), set y = 0 and solve for x:

0 = 2x^2 - 4x + 3

You can use the quadratic formula or factoring to find the x-intercepts.

This completes the graph of the quadratic function y = 2x^2 - 4x + 3.