Conic Sections is a great topic to get a hands on with. To introduce the topic I had students work in groups of 4. They 3 activities for the lesson.
1st: A sheet on basic algebra skills (graphing, factoring, writing equations of lines, etc...). Each member had to have the correct answers and correspsodning works to move to the 2nd activity.
2nd: Conic Sections with Paint. Students cut paper cone cups to represent each conic section.
3rd: A round-the-school instagram activity (#conicsectionschs--some of the picture are still available to view) I have used instagram for my freshman to complete a geometry scavenger hunt and for cross country--it is one of my new favorite ways for students to prove they found certain shapes. A majority of the students have instagram linked up with facebook so I am proud to say that a bunch of high-schooler's facebook newsfeed had conic section identifications.
Once a group finished with an activity they moved to the next. I wanted to each group to get through the 1st and 2nd. The 3rd activity was my early finisher activity. Once the first group left the room with directions to take pictures and post them on instagram, the other groups kicked it into gear to finish so that they could complete the 3rd. The 1st activity took the longest.
It was a fun day that everyone enjoyed!
Educator who loves math and working with students.