Quadratics ‘Top Trumps’

Having just spent a large chunk of my afternoon battling with Moodle’s quiz functions, fortunately I also came up with something a little more fun, interactive and actually quite challenging: quadratics top trumps.

Starter for 10

Here is a sketch of the graph y=ax^2+bx+c for certain values of a, b and c:

q6

  • Is a positive, zero or negative?
  • Is b positive, zero or negative? (Careful!)
  • Is c positive, zero or negative?
  • Is ac positive, zero or negative?
  • Is b²-4ac positive, zero or negative?

Top Trumps

I’ve written up a few more details in this Top Trumps Powerpoint (sorry but the graphs are a little small and uninspiring – perhaps someone is willing to tart them up a bit?!). Essentially, students play in pairs and try to pick a property (a, b, c, acb²-4ac) that they hope will beat their opponent. (Positive beats Zero beats Negative.)

Starters and Variations

In the Powerpoint, I mention a couple of possible starter activities to precede the game:

  • Provide students with the same starter as in the blog post.
  • Ask the students to sketch a quadratic for which, say, ab and c are all negative.
  • Try to limit the students from always choosing a or c – perhaps require them to have used all 5 different properties before they can repeat a choice.
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