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Discriminant Foldable

My Algebra 2 class created this discriminant foldable in their interactive notebooks after they had already memorized and practiced applying the quadratic formula.

colored paper with text "discriminant foldable"

I instructed them to open their notebooks to page 72 and title the page “The Discriminant Is Our Friend!”

Discriminant Foldable in Interactive Notebook.

Of course, a student asked me if I am racist.  Ahem.  The discriminant is our friend.  NOT discrimination is our friend.  There is a definite difference!

Moment of Honesty: Last year, I didn’t even teach my Algebra 2 students about the discriminant.  Last year, my unit on quadratics was less than stellar, and that was reflected in our test scores.  

Of all the topics covered in Algebra 2, my students performed the absolute worst on quadratic functions.  This year, I set out to change that!

Discriminant is a scary sounding word.  But, my students soon realized that it was really no harder than the quadratic formula.  

I’m hoping that one of the things that my Algebra 2 students take away from my classroom is that scary sounding terms are not necessarily difficult.

 For example, lots of students came to love logarithms.

We created a foldable in our notebooks that was shamelessly stolen 100% from Nora at Simplifying Radicals.  

I had trouble getting her Word File to open for me correctly, so I ended up having to retype the foldable.  But, all of the material is hers!  

Discriminant Foldable in Interactive Notebook.

On the outside, we labeled the four flaps.  One flap contains basic information about the discriminant.  The other three flaps contain examples where the discriminant is equal to zero, greater than zero, and less than zero.

I like that this student added reminders of the greater than and less than symbols to their notes.  I love that they recognized that this is something they struggle with, and they did something about it! 

Discriminant Foldable in Interactive Notebook.

This was the first time my Algebra 2 students had ever made a foldable in this style.  When the flaps are unfolded, there are 16 squares to write in.

My students’ only complaint was that the squares were too small.  I didn’t have any trouble writing in the squares, but I did have to use pen instead of marker due to size constraints.

Discriminant Foldable in Interactive Notebook.

We took to referring to the different parts of the foldable as quadrants, named as the quadrants of the coordinate plane.

In the second quadrant, we discussed what the discriminant was.

Discriminant Foldable in Interactive Notebook.

The third quadrant contained an example to work out where the discriminant is greater than zero.

Discriminant Foldable in Interactive Notebook.

The fourth quadrant contained an example where the graph had no real solutions and two imaginary solutions.

Discriminant Foldable in Interactive Notebook.

The first quadrant was an example of a quadratic equation with one real solution.

Discriminant Foldable in Interactive Notebook.

This foldable took longer to complete than I anticipated (about 1.5 50 minute class periods), but I think it was well worth the time.

To find out more about this foldable, be sure to check out the Simplifying Radicals blog.

Discriminant Foldable in Interactive Notebook.
quadratic formula printed on post-it note.


Looking for more quadratic formula teaching resources? This activity is featured in my collection of Fun Quadratic Formula Activities. You’ll find 12 more creative ideas for teaching the quadratic formula to your high school math students.


Monday 9th of August 2021

hello, how can i solve this problem with this page showing? eye

Sarah Carter

Sunday 15th of August 2021

I'm not sure what you mean. Can you explain further?


Friday 17th of April 2015

How did you make the grid for the discriminant foldable? My students are learning this in Algebra I and I think it would be fun and good way to organize the material.

Sarah Carter (@mathequalslove)

Tuesday 21st of April 2015

I almost always make my foldables with Publisher. I find it easier to use than Word.

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