Quadratic modelling of the number of males registered in apprenticeship programs

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In this lesson, students will learn about applications of the vertex form [y = a(x – h)2 + k] of a quadratic equation. Students will extract data on the number of males registered in apprenticeship programs in Canada from Statistics Canada's E-STAT database and import them into a statistical software program. Within the software program, students will model a quadratic equation. By adjusting the values of the a, h, and k parameters to maximize the fit of the parabola to the data on the number of males registered in apprenticeship programs, students will gain a greater understanding of the role of the parameters in the vertex form of a quadratic equation.

Contributors: Jennifer Hall, Joel Yan, and Sheona Duthie, Statistics Canada


Suggested grade levels and subject areas

Grades 10 and 11


One to two 75 minute periods


Computers with Internet access and statistical software
Computer projector
E-STAT account
E-STAT instructions
Software instructions:

Student worksheet
Student worksheet – Teacher version
Useful graphs and information for teachers

Prior knowledge

Vertex form of quadratic equation [y = a(x – h)2 + k]
Basic knowledge of E-STAT and statistical software

Classroom instructions

  1. Discuss important properties of the vertex form of the quadratic equation as a review.
  2. Using the computer projector, demonstrate the important features of E-STAT.
  3. Hold a brief class discussion on the topic of apprenticeship programs to assess students' prior knowledge and share information on the topic.
  4. Distribute the student instructions and worksheet and have students complete the lesson independently or in pairs.


Have students repeat the process using data on the number of females registered in apprenticeship programs instead. Have students compare the shape of this graph to the graph of the number of males registered in apprenticeship programs. Ask students to research reasons for this difference.

Have students import the data for the number of males registered in apprenticeship programs into a graphing calculator or spreadsheet software to perform quadratic regression analysis. Have the students compare their curve of best fit for the data with the regression analysis.

Challenge your students to search on the E-STAT CANSIM database to find other time series data (among the more than 36 million time series) that can be modelled by a quadratic function. They can import these data into a statistical software program and attempt to plot quadratic functions to fit their data.


Students can be informally assessed on their work habits and computer skills throughout this activity. They can be formally assessed via the worksheet, which can be handed in to be marked using a marking scheme of the teacher's choice.

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