I wanted to start my parabola lesson with paper folding to create a parabola. I'd done it before with other classes, and it went well since it was something different. This year I wanted to add an extra "twist" and experimented on my 3rd period (guinea pig) class .... (we don't LIKE being your guinea pigs).
Previously, they would draw a line on a piece of paper (directrix) and a point (focus) and then start folding the line over to lay on top of the focus many different times, and then the resulting pattern emerges as a parabola. Done. Move on to notes. This year I wanted to actually have them plot some of the points that were on the parabola, so after each fold, they were to use their ruler place it perpendicular to the directrix, through the focus, and make a dot where it intersected the fold.
Oh my goodness. Confusion city. Some kids got it, but lots didn't, so I just moved on and chalked one up to experience. But I think I heard the funniest line so far. One girl who has been struggling with math all year and is not getting the draw-the-dot-on-the-fold directions shrugs and funny-resignedly says, "even paper confuses me in math class".