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Mathematics Support

Algebra I | Unit 1 2 3 4 5 6 7

Main ideas in this unit

In this unit, students learn about quadratic functions. Earlier, they learned about linear functions that grow by repeatedly adding or subtracting the same amount and exponential functions that grow by repeatedly multiplying by the same amount.

Quadratic functions also change in a predictable way. Here, the number of small squares in each step is increasing by 3, then 5, then 7, and so on. How many squares are in Step 10? How many in Step n?

Here is a table that shows the pattern.

step number 1 2 3 4 10 n
number of small squares 1 4 9 4×4or 16 10×10or 100 n×nor n2

In this unit, students will also learn about some real-world situations that can be modeled by quadratic functions. For example, when you toss a ball up in the air, its distance above the ground as time passes can be modeled by a quadratic function. Study the graph. The ball starts on the ground because the height is 0 when time is 0. The ball lands back on the ground after 2 seconds. After 1 second, the ball is 5 meters in the air.

Both of the following expressions give the ball’s distance above the ground: 5x(2x) and 10x5x2, where x represents the number of seconds since it was thrown. Quadratic expressions are most recognizable when you can see the “squared term,” -5x2, as shown in 10x5x2

Your student will learn more about quadratics in the next unit.

Here is a task to try with your student:

The equation h=1+25t25t2 models the height in meters of a model rocket t seconds after it is launched in the air. Here is a graph representing the equation.

  1. What was the height of the rocket above the ground at the time it was launched?
  2. How high did it go up in the air?
  3. When did the rocket land back on the ground?


  1. 1 meter
  2. about 32 meters
  3. a little more than 5 seconds after launch

IM Algebra 1 is copyright 2019 Illustrative Mathematics and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).

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