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Fun Conic Sections Activities

I used to dread teaching conics but introducing these fun conic sections activities into my math classroom has made all of the difference. Read on to find hands-on and engaging ways to teach conic sections to your students.

fun conic sections activities

My first experience teaching conic sections was during my first year of teaching. I was teaching Algebra 2, and I can vividly remember arranging my units during the school year so that conics came last because I was not looking forward to teaching conic sections.

I was always an excellent math student in high school. Usually, math came pretty easily to me, but the first time I ever remember having to study and work hard at math was Algebra 2. Matrices and Conic Sections were the topics that really taught me how to study and practice math.

As a first-year teacher, I was not looking forward to teaching this topic that I had found so difficult to understand and master as a student. Then, I discovered Cindy Johnson’s amazing Conic Cards.

I did exactly what she said to do every day for eight days, and by the end of our conics unit my students were declaring that conic sections were their favorite topic of the entire school year.

Over the years, I have taught conic sections to hundreds of other students in Algebra 2 and now Pre-Calculus since Oklahoma removed conics from the Algebra 2 curriculum. I still love and use Conic Cards, but I have added a number of other fun activities for teaching conic sections to my teaching toolbox.

Hopefully you can find an activity that will make your students love circles, hyperbolas, ellipses, and parabolas as much as my students do!

Teaching Students About Conic Sections

Building a Cone to Visualize Conic Sections

I love teaching conic sections, so I was super-excited to discover a set of instructions online for building a cone to help students visualize the four different types of conic sections. This made the perfect addition to our last unit of the year in Pre-Calculus – conics!

Conic Cards – A Revolutionary Way to Teach Conic Sections in 8 Days!

conic cards activity

If you teach conic sections as part of Algebra 2 or Pre-Calculus, I am about to share a life-changing teaching method for you called Conic Cards. Conic Cards are the creation of Cindy Johnson, a National Board Certified Teacher in Oklahoma.

Classifying Conic Sections Flow Chart

graphic of flow chart with text "classifying conic sections flow chart"

Your students will be classifying the equations of conic sections in no time with this fun and easy to use flow chart from Rebecka Peterson.

Conic Sections Graphic Organizer Collection

Download an entire unit’s worth of graphic organizers and foldables to use with your students in their interactive notebook while learning about the various conic sections.

Conic Sections Foldable

Help your students to summarize and retain important information about each different conic section with this helpful conic sections foldable.

Conic Sections Practice Activities

Sidewalk Chalk Hyperbolas Activity

colorful chalk line drawings with text "sidewalk chalk hyperbolas activity" 

Hyperbolas are always the hardest conic section for my students to master the skill of graphing. If the weather is suitable, this sidewalk chalk hyperbolas activity will have students graphing perfect hyperbolas in no time!

Paper Folding the Conic Sections

Folding Conic Sections Project

folding conic sections project

I decided to use this folding conic sections project to kick off our conics unit in Pre-Calculus. Over the last few years, I have learned how to create parabolas, ellipses, circles, and hyperbolas using paper folding.

Wax Paper Parabolas

folded piece of paper in background with parabola drawn on top

I’m excited to introduce you to wax paper parabolas! Students loved making the parabolas, labeling them with the appropriate vocabulary, and gluing the result in their interactive notebooks.

Paper Folding an Ellipse

folded paper with ellipse drawn on top

Learn how to use paper folding to create an ellipse.

Paper Folding a Hyperbola

folded paper background with drawing of hyperbola on top

Learn how to use paper folding to create a hyperbola.

Conics Patty Paper Poster Project

conics patty paper poster project

Once your students have created all of the conic sections by paper folding, have them turn it into a conics poster project!