# How to calculate the vertex of a parabola

A parabola is a U-shaped curve that opens either upward or downward and has several properties that are important in mathematics and physics. In this article, we will explore how to calculate the vertex of a parabola, which is the highest or lowest point on the curve depending on its orientation. This information is crucial for solving many practical problems, such as determining the path of a projectile or optimizing a function.

**Step 1: Understand the standard form of a quadratic equation**

The equation of a parabola can be written in different forms, but the most common form to calculate the vertex easily is the standard form. A quadratic equation in standard form looks like this

**y = ax^2 + bx + c**

Here, ‘a’, ‘b’, and ‘c’ are constants, and ‘x’ and ‘y’ are variables.

**Step 2: Identify the values for ‘a’, ‘b’, and ‘c’**

In order to calculate the vertex of a parabola, you need to first identify the values for ‘a’, ‘b’, and ‘c’ from the given equation. For example, given the equation **y = 2x^2 – 4x + 3**, you have:

**a =** 2

**b =** -4

**c =** 3

**Step 3: Calculate x-coordinate (h) using vertex formula**

To find out h (the x-coordinate of the vertex), use this formula:

**h = -b / 2a**

For our example:

**h = -(-4) / (2 * 2) = 4 / 4 = 1**

**Step 4: Calculate y-coordinate (k) using x-coordinate value**

Now that we know h (the x-coordinate), we can find k (the y-coordinate) by substituting h back into our original quadratic equation:

**k = a * h^2 + b * h + c**

For our example:

**k = 2(1^2) – 4(1) + 3 = 2 – 4 + 3 = 1**

**Step 5: Identify the vertex**

The vertex of the parabola is the point (h, k), so for our example, the vertex is (1, 1). If ‘a’ is positive, the parabola opens upwards, and (h, k) represents the lowest point on the curve. If ‘a’ is negative, the parabola opens downwards, and (h, k) represents the highest point on the curve.

In conclusion, calculating the vertex of a parabola requires understanding the standard form of a quadratic equation and then using simple algebraic formulas. Once you have mastered these steps, you will be well-equipped to solve various practical problems involving parabolas.