Think about the last time you threw a baseball or kicked a soccer ball. Did it follow a straight-line path through the air? No, it probably had more of a curved or arclike path. In fact, any projectile follows what is called a parabolic path. A **parabola** is really just a fancy name for a symmetric bump, or arc. The bump can be upside-down or sideways, as shown in Figure 2.5, but one side is always a mirror image of the other.

You will use two components of the parabola to determine its equation. The first is the **vertex**, which is the very tip of the bump. The second is the **axis of symmetry ...**

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